Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Dallas Marathon and Second Chances

Last year I had an incredible blogging opportunity with the metro PCS Dallas Marathon. Through a PR agency, I agreed to work with metro PCS to blog about the Dallas marathon and metro PCS, and in exchange they paid my entry fee (and paid for a free phone & service for six months). Shortly after I was reimbursed for the entry fee, I received an email from the PR agency that there were some internal changes at Metro PCS and they were not moving forward with the blogger program. Sorry, no free phone offer, no blog post posts are required, but enjoy your free entry. I wasn’t too upset about this because in the end, I didn’t have to write a single post and my entry fee for the marathon was paid.

At that point, I was not at all ready to run a marathon, but I had plenty of time to train. I’d been on a sort of running hiatus, but felt training for a marathon would be just what I needed in order to bring my motivation back on the upswing. I joined a marathon training group and I was ready to go. But then one thing led to another and I developed some sort of exercise-induced asthma where I would produce large amount of phlegm when I would exert myself. It was so bad that would have to stop running to gag it up. As frustrating as this was, I decided to not let it stop me. I figured if I have to stop and cough, I’ll do that, but I’ll keep going.

Then, for the first time ever in my running life, I started to feel pain when I ran. My hip flexors were always hurting, my hip, my shins, and sometimes my knee. Ugh, I wanted to blame old age on my newly developed aches and pains, but I really knew it was because I hadn’t been running as much, and I probably was just pushing my mileage more than I should have been, just starting up again. Between my pains, my coughing, and the hot Texas summers, at some point I just gave up. Quietly. I barely even let myself think about it, because I felt pretty bad for quitting. But I just tried to put it out of my mind and moved on. At least I didn’t waste $100 on an entry fee, I told myself.

Then when the time for the Dallas marathon arrived, Dallas got hit with a terrible ice storm and the marathon was cancelled. Cancelled! I couldn't even believe they could do that. I understand safety concerns, but the race was non-refundable and forget the money, we all know you can't refund six months of 4:30am training runs. I felt just horrible for all the people that actually put in all that work, trained for months, in order to have the big pay off get cancelled. Totally heart-breaking.

But the unfortunate situation presented me with a second chance. The Dallas Marathon was offering discount rates for the 2014 marathon to the people who weren’t given the opportunity to run it in 2013 because of the ice storm. (I personally think it should be free, but that is a whole other blog post). But I qualify for the discounted rate because I was registered in 2013. I was given a second chance to run my first full marathon.

The problem? The deadline to register at the reduced rates is today. TODAY! Like in 3 hours. I could register for the full marathon (and I'd have plenty of time to train), but what if I can't handle it? I've been struggling with shin pain again (ugh) and can barely run a 5K without pain. Maybe I should just register for the half. I've ran enough halves in my life, that I feel like it is an attainable goal, then maybe plan to run the Cowtown full marathon in February of 2015 after I get another half under my belt?

I have no idea what I am going to do in the next few hours.

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What I Ate Wednesday

"What I ate Wednesday" has been circulating around fitness blogs for quite a while now. I've always resisted participating because I couldn't help but think, "Does anyone really care what I ate?" Of course you don't. I'll share my dinner plate on Instagram now and again (or every night) but I wasn't sure it was worth a whole blog post. I really make an effort to try not to bore you to death. I hope I've been semi-successful thus far.
I don't know what changed my mind. Maybe I thought someone would want to try my smoothie recipe, or see how easy it can be to throw together a healthy meal at dinner time (although I don't know anything about that, Hubby makes the dinners around here). He makes it look easy.

I had a change of heart and decided to give it a shot. I have to tell you that taking photos of everything that I ate for the day did help me stay on track. It's like a food diary, with pictures. Knowing that I was going to share what I ate made me hyper-aware of what I was eating. Full disclosure: This of day of eating may not be representative of a typical day (but pretty close).
I eat a green smoothie every day for breakfast. This is my favorite mixture.

Pistachios for a mid-morning snack. Objects in picture may have been consumed in larger quantities than they appear.
For lunch I packed a perfectly fine healthy lunch of chicken and tabouleh, but at the last minute made a trip to Chipotle instead and bought a chicken bowl. And oops my calendar proves it's really Tuesday. Busted in a lie. It's not even Wednesday!
Somebody walked up to my desk as I was taking this picture and totally caught me photographing my food. I was sort of embarrassed, but we didn't speak of it. I'm sure she thought I was weird for taking pictures of my carrots.
I was trying to get creative with my carrot picture. They're just carrots, it's hard to make them look exciting.
Baked Swai and brussels sprouts. I never thought I'd say I actually like brussels sprouts, but these were sooo delicious.

When Ollie heard about what I was doing, he wanted to get in on the fun, but then he wouldn't let me anywhere near his food.
What Ollie Ate Wednesday.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Transition from Run/Walk Intervals to Running

I am the first person that will scream, "In running, there is NO shame in walking." It is that all-or-nothing attitude that says, "If I can't run the whole way, I'm not doing it at all" that stops people from even trying. Walk if you have to. Crawl if you have to. Just keep moving forward. Most people start in the same place and you have to work through that hard-beginning part in order to become a better runner. The great thing is that the harder that it is for you, the more calories you are burning. Once it gets easier, you need to figure out a way to make it harder to keep up the same level of calorie burn.

In order to learn to run, most people have to first do running and walking intervals. But once you have been doing it for awhile, how do you make the transition from running and walking to just running?

I have two techniques that you could try. One is ideal for street running and one is ideal for treadmill running. I am not a running coach or personal trainer. I am sharing the things that personally have worked for me to transition from run/walk intervals to just running. Please try any new exercises at your own risk (i.e. don't sue me if you die).

Street Running
The fastest way I know to transition from run/walk intervals on the streets to an all-running plan is to follow these instructions as closely as possible.

1. Walk for a few minutes to warm up. Try some dynamic stretching before you get started.
2. Start running at a slow pace. Don't start off too fast or you'll just wear yourself out.
3. When you feel like you just can't run for one more second, try to take 50 more steps, then slow to a fast walk. It is important to be sure that you are listening to your body and not your mind. Is your mind telling you can't go on? Or is it your body or lungs? Sometimes your mind will tell you to stop, but think about it first. Can I breathe? Are my legs OK? How do I feel physically? If it is just your mind, keep going. Your thoughts lie.
4. If you need to slow to a walk, it's OK. Only walk as long as you need to in order to recover. It is really important to be honest with yourself and start running again as soon as you are able. Don't walk for one second longer than necessary. 
5. Repeat the running cycle. Run as long as you can. When you think you need to stop, try to count out 50 more steps. As long as you aren't feeling any physical pain, push yourself to keep running for just a little bit longer. When you are sure it is your body and not your mind, it is OK to walk again to recover.
6. Start the run cycle again.
7. The idea is that you run for as long as you physically can, then walk only as much as necessary. If you continue this cycle, while being completely honest with yourself, over time, your run intervals will become longer and your walk intervals will become shorter, until there are no walk intervals at all.

I can clearly remember the great feeling the first time I realized that I didn't need to stop for a walk interval, that I could keep running. Don't listen to your mind, listen to your body.

This same technique can be used to improve your pace. Just replace the walk intervals with slower run internals. Run fast, then run slower to recover until you don't have to run slower anymore.

Treadmill Running
You could easily do the same routine above on the treadmill, but I recommend a treadmill routine that really boosts running confidence and allows running at different paces instead of taking walk breaks.

1. Walk for a few minutes on the treadmill to warm up.
2. Increase your pace to a slow running pace that feels easy and comfortable to you for one minute.
3. Every minute increase the MPH by .5 on the treadmill until you reach your max running pace.
4. Run for one minute at each .5 increment until you reach your max. You'll know your max when you get there, if you can't keep it up for a minute (or if your breathing is really labored), you went too far.
5 Once you reach your max, start moving back down at .5 MPH increment at a time, for one minute, until you reach your slowest running pace again.
6. Repeat three times.

I love this because you gradually build your speed. You only run at each speed for one minute and as soon as you reach your peak speed, you get to start gradually slowing down. It allows you to run faster but grants you the recovery time in the slower intervals without actually walking.

The great thing about this workout is that you can adjust it as your get stronger, so that you are always pushing yourself. Adjust your slowest and fastest time to your current fitness level. If this is too slow for you, start at a faster pace and peak at a faster pace. The magic of pyramids is that you can always adjust to your current fitness level. Here is a beginner's workout example. If it is too easy or too hard, adjust accordingly.

Running Pyramid
I personally have used both of these methods to increase speed and to transition from run/walk intervals to just running. What do you think? Will you give it a shot? Let me know what you think!

If you want more tips on how to get start running I have a giveaway for a copy of the Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners. Enter to win until 5/5.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Social Media Sunday - Favorite Blogging Tools and Resources

Happy Sunday, friends! Hubby is still in bed, and Ollie is barking at the air in the backyard. It is unusual that I write my posts the same day I plan to publish them, but sometimes inspiration strikes and I just have to get it out on paper (or errr...on the computer screen).

If you've been following along the last few months, I've started a new series called Social Media Sunday where I share some of the things I've learned over the last few years of blogging. We've talked about how to increase engagement on Facebook, what not to do on Twitter, I offered a free blog planner download, and even shared with you my blog stats. I have some great ideas for future posts about using Pinterest and Instagram to grow your page views and following, but first let's dive into some blogging resources. These are the tools that I use on a regular basis to run this blog

Photo Pin
Finding nice photos to use on your blog is important! But using pictures you find on the Internet without permission is stealing. You wouldn't want to do anything illegal to get in trouble, sued, or get your blog shut down, so never steal pictures from the Internet to use on your blog. Ideally, take the photos yourself, but sometimes that is not possible. I regularly use a site called Photo Pin that offers free creative commons photos to use on blogs. You can download the picture as long as you include the photo credit. It is a free, easy, and legal way to get photos for your blog. Don't let this happen to you.

Canva is a great site for designing blog graphics for those of us that are not graphic-design inclined. There are tons of free layouts, images, and icons to use to create free blog graphics, social media graphics, and more. They also offer thousands of  professional stock images for only $1 each for a one time use license. If you've ever looked into purchasing stock images you know this is a lot less expensive than traditional stock photography. The catch is that it is a one time use license of the image. With this license you are paying to use the image in one design only. You have to make any changes to your design within 24 hours to avoid paying for the license again. Because I think professional looking images can make big difference in a blog post (especially when it comes to sharing on Pinterest), I sometimes invest in these stock images. I usually buy a package of 11 photo downloads for $10, it is slightly cheaper than $1 a photo and I can download them as I need them.

Once I find the photo I want, I use PicMonkey to add text, overlays, and frames to spruce it up. It makes editing photos so easy and fun. I used the free version for about a year, until recently, when I bit the bullet and upgraded to Royale for $33 a year. I think it is worth it for the advanced features and fonts. I made the image for this blog post using PicMonkey.

Just Unfollow
I've raved about this app in previous social media Sunday posts. The app is called Just Unfollow but I use it primarily for finding new targeted followers. It is a great app to use to grow your Twitter and Instagram following. It allows you to find new people to follow by copying the followers of other related accounts or by searching for accounts using specific keywords. I look to follow people that have similar interests, like running, blogging, or dogs. These are the people that would most likely be interested in following me back. The free version lets you follow up to 50 people in a 24 hour period. I follow 50 like-minded people, then wait a few days, and use the app to unfollow anyone who has not followed me back, then repeat the process. I get about 100 new targeted followers a week using this app for both Twitter and Instagram.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an important site if you want to get a true look at your blogging stats. I use the Blogger platform to run this blog and I noticed the stats in Blogger are greatly inflated (sometimes as much as three times). I look at the Blogger stats to feel good about myself and feed my ego, then I go to Google Analytics for a reality check. Google Analytics is considered the industry standard, so if a PR rep or a company asks for your stats, this is what they are probably expecting. It's great to see how many people landed on your blog, how they got there, and how long they stayed. I'll admit I don't understand all of it and I am sure there are lot of tools that are available that I am not using, but I think at the very least it is good to set this up to understand your basic stats.

I love HootSuite because I already spend too much time in front of the computer. HootSuite allows you to schedule Twitter and Facebook posts in advance. I only use it for Twitter for a myriad of reasons that I won't get into now. When I have a post that I want to promote, I spend 15 minutes in the morning scheduling posts for the day. I usually schedule the same post three or four times throughout the day with slightly different wording. Twitter moves so fast, it is unlikely that the same people will see it each time. I also schedule to share the posts I've enjoyed  from other bloggers. Remember the first rule of blogging and social media. Social MEdia is not all about ME.
Tweet: Remember the first rule of blogging and social media. Social MEdia is not all about ME via @gealenders. 

I recently learned about RoundTeam from my blogging friend Carla at Real Into. I like sites that take out some of the work in keeping up with social media. Let social media work for you instead of you working for it. What I like about RoundTeam is that you can set up automatic Retweets. The first thing I did was set up a RT anytime someone tweeted my Twitter name (@Gealenders). I added filters so it wouldn't retweet anything with profanity in it. (Hopefully people aren't tweeting my name with profanity, but it is just a safe guard.) Then I set up a list within Twitter with the fitness bloggers that I trust the most, that routinely publish good content. These are the bloggers I most want to make sure I am supporting. I set up RoundTeam to automatically RT when my special list of bloggers posts something using specific keywords. I used keywords FitFluential, Running, and Runners, so if any of my trusted bloggers use one of my keywords in a tweet, and doesn't use profanity, then my account will automatically RT it. I filtered it so it wouldn't RT a RT, just original tweets that they authored. You don't have to use keywords, you can set RoundTeam up to RT anything a trusted person on your list tweets, but I didn't want to RT everything in case the person pushed Pinterest pins to Twitter or was having a conversation with someone else on Twitter. It would seem kind of stalker-ish to RT everything a person was tweeting. My keywords narrows down the things that are most likely relevant to what I would RT manually.

A couple of common sense things to keep in mind if using this resource.
1. First thing to remember is to monitor it. If someone tweeted that I was an ugly jerk (who would do that?) my RoundTeam account would RT it. Obviously, I want to monitor what I am RTing on a pretty regular basis (i.e. every day).
2. Only RT trusted content. My list of bloggers are people I really trust and I know they would never ever tweet inappropriate things.
3. Don't forget that actual engagement is important. If you sit back and let the app do it all, you miss out on the chance to really engage with people. RoundTeam is a great catch-all to make sure I am supporting my fellow bloggers, but I still want to go back and actually read and comment on the things I am retweeting, because that is the real support I can offer.
4. I've had a few situations where I realized my RTs were overboard. Once a person was participating in a Twitter chat about running. I logged on and found that the app RT ten things that were all conversational. It was embarrassing enough that I had to explain to the person what was going on.

So what do you think? Do you use any of these? Am I missing anything?

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Friday, April 25, 2014

The Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running: A Runner's World Giveaway!

I've been running on and off for about ten years. I started running right after I turned thirty to try to lose a few pounds. I had no idea the first time I ran around the block that my love of running would become a lifestyle. I always say that running is not something that I do, it is who I am.

I'm not (too) ashamed to tell you that in the beginning, I basically did everything wrong...before I got it right. I wore the wrong clothes, the wrong socks, the wrong shoes. I raced wrong. I trained wrong. I ran too much. I rested too little. I didn't cross train. I fueled wrong. I had bad form and unrealistic goals. I hadn't yet learned the mental side.

Then little by little, over the years, one thing at a time, I started to get it right. I gained experience, I learned from my mistakes. I read a ton of books, blogs, and magazines. I talked to other runners and athletes. I applied the things I learned, and over time made great strides (pun intended) to ultimately become a better, stronger, faster runner.

If you want to start running, you can do what I did and learn the long hard way over a decade of trial and error, or you can do something much smarter.

Runner's World sent me their new book "The Big Book of Running for Beginners" to review. As I read through the book, I was struck with the thought, "I wish I had this book when I was a new runner." Maybe I wouldn't have had to spend the better part of ten years figuring it out. Runner's World is clearly an influential magazine and important resource for runners of all levels. Why not get the best advice you can get, up front, direct from the running experts?

The book covers everything you need to know about how to get started running, nutrition and weight loss, managing and preventing injuries, plus tons of helpful Q&A, and motivating stories. My favorite chapter was Start Running in Five Easy Steps! Yes, anyone can be a runner. You don't have be particularity athletic (I am the clumsiest person I know), a certain body type, size, or age. You can take the training plans and lessons in this book and apply them immediately to start your own journey as a runner. Anyone can lace up their shoes, hit the streets, and instantly become a runner, but after reading this book you'll likely be two steps ahead of the average beginning runner. As the quote in my header says...

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." John Bingham.

After I read through the book, I realized that a new runner (or maybe one of my readers) would really get a lot of good information from this book, so I decided to giveaway to you my own copy of Runner's World: The Big Book of Running for Beginners. It is slightly used because I read it, but otherwise in new condition. Honestly, as an experienced runner, I picked up some good tips from this book.

If you want to buy the book or learn more, you can do it here (this is not an affiliate link, which means I do not gain anything if you click or buy, I am just providing the link for your convenience).

If you want to try to win my personal copy of the book, just leave a comment and fill out the Rafflecopter form telling me that you did. There are plenty of ways to earn extra entries on the Rafflecopter form.

Who wants to be a runner? Enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs 4/26/2014 to 5/5/14
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Winner will notified via email (if available) 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.
Contestants must enter on the Rafflecopter form in order to win.
All winning entries will be verified. If the required or winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.
Prize will be shipped directly from Running with Ollie in Texas

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Furry Friday Featuring Run Your Mutt Off with Jessica & Molly

Did you know that this week is Runner's World Dog Week? You can hashtag (hashtag is a verb, yes?) your running dog photos with #RWDOGWEEK and then search the hashtag (also a noun) to find other like-minded dog lover runners! Here is my contribution.

D'uh. Every week is dog week around here.
That sounds great and you can bet that I've been hash-tagging that shit all over the Internet, but here at Running with Ollie, every week is dog week (and every day is dog day). Once a month on a Friday I introduce you to a runner and his or her favorite four legged running partner (although we've been lacking on the "his" entries, where are the boys?). Regardless, My Furry Friday Feature is easily the most adorable post of the month.

This month I am excited to introduce you to Jessica from Run Your Mutt Off (cutest blog name ever!) and her favorite running partner, Molly. Let's get started!
Meet Jessica and Molly

Hi, Molly! You're cute!
Molly, the running Jack Russell Terrier.

What is your name and blog name?
I'm Jessica from RunYourMuttOff

Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner
My favorite running partner is my dog Molly. We think she is mostly Jack Russell Terrier and about 4 years old. We adopted her from the Seattle Humane Society in 2011. She's one of five dogs I have at home (4 are mine, and 1 is a foster).

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?

Molly and I love to run around our neighborhood (we have routes we like ranging from 2-4 miles) or we head to the running/biking path that parallels the river where we can run out and back. Her longest run with me is about 8-10 miles.

Have you ever raced with your dog?

I've never raced with Molly. I've only found one local race that allowed dogs and the timing the last couple years hasn't worked out for me. Also, we do best hitting popular running paths when the dog traffic is low, otherwise I get a little more of an arm workout than I'd like from all her tugging in anticipation of trying to meet new canine friends!

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud!

My proudest running moment was the first time I ran 9 miles. I love running along the river path near my house. I had mapped the mileage early in my first half marathon training cycle and determined it was 9 miles from the mall a couple towns over, back to my town, along this path. When my 9 mile long run weekend rolled around, I had my husband drive me out and drop me off. There is something invigorating about running point-to-point; the only thing that will get you home are your own two feet! It helped that the sun was shining but it was a cool morning; a perfect day for a perfect run.

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

I've learned to slow down and "smell the roses" ... or the tree, or sign post, or fire hydrant, or a random rock! Molly (and all my dogs, really) loves to sniff and there is nothing wrong with taking some breaks to just enjoy being outside on a nice day. Who cares if your pace is slower than usual. Sometimes it isn't about the data, its about being in the moment.

Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?
I'm a runner, wife, and mutt mama. - I'm a huge dog lover and also a canine foster mom. I'm training for my 3rd half marathon & 1st full marathon.

I've got 5 dogs total (4 of my own and a foster dog). Tony is 12 years old so walking to the mailbox and back is the extent of his cardio these days. Jack is about 8 years old and can walk a few miles but running is now out of his league. Diamond (our current foster) is blind and prefers the comfort of our home and backyard. And Red, our newest adoptee, needs a lot of socialization practice, he's still getting the hang of the real world, but I hope he becomes a running buddy in the future.
They may not all be running partners, but they're all great dogs!

Any parting thoughts?

I think it's so cool that you're doing this! I'm still new to blogging, and twitter too, but I'm loving the community and new social circle I'm building around my passions - running and my dogs. When I started out, just a couple months ago, I had a hard time finding running blogs that have a focus on dogs; there are a lot of running blogs that focus on food/nutrition, training tips, being a running mom, etc., so I hope to create a little niche for the dog & running lovers.

Please show your support for Jessica at Run Your Mutt Off by checking out her blog and following her on Twitter and leaving a comment here about how much you love Molly.

If you're  a runner who would like to be featured with your favorite furry 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.)

Keep Running,


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston Marathon Day of Remembrance & Tommie Copper Giveaway Winner

I couldn't let today pass without a thought, without a prayer, without a mention of the Boston Marathon. I can't believe it has been a year already. The running community never ceases to amaze me. In the face of tragedy it only made us stronger and more unified. Today I am remembering those that were affected.

I'm thrilled to announce the winner of my Tommie Copper giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Lisa J. I'll be sending you an email and you can choose between the Tommie Copper compression camisole tank and the compression capri pants. Please respond to my email within 48 hours to claim your prize!

If you didn't win, but would like to learn more about Tommie Copper can you visit their website for more information. (This is not an affiliate link, which means I don't gain anything if you click or buy, I am simply providing for your convenience.)

As always, thanks to everyone who entered! You guys rock!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Five: Happy National Hug A Blogger Day (and other made up holidays)

Did you know there were a lot of holidays this week?! For my Friday Five this month, I am sharing the five weirdest holidays of the week. These are those bizarre holidays you would never have known existed if they weren't spreading like wildfire on social media...and I am pretty sure they are totally made up. But that won't stop me from petitioning for days off from work to celebrate.

Friday Five: 5 Weird Holidays This Week

April 6th - New Beer's Eve

This was flying around Facebook on Sunday. New Beer's Eve is an unofficial holiday to celebrate the end of Prohibition in the US on April 6th 1933. This is immediately followed by National Beer Day on April 7th, because we all need a special holiday to celebrate beer. Isn't that what St. Patrick's Day is for?

New Beer's Eve

April 7th - National No Housework Day

I learned on Pinterest that April 7th is National No Housework day (which is a good thing because you might not be in the mood for housework after celebrating New Beer's Eve the night before). I don't know that I need a special day to not do housework. But hey, any excuse, right? I did some light research (aka Google search) and couldn't find out why this day exists, which supports my theory that it is a totally made up day by people who don't want to do housework. Where do I sign up?

National No Housework Day

April 10th - National Siblings Day

Another holiday I learned about this week from all the pictures on Facebook. Happy National Siblings Day! I shared a picture of my brother and sister to celebrate this event, however, I am still waiting for my siblings day gifts to arrive in the mail. How rude of them to forget such an important holiday!

My sister and brother.

April 11th - National Pet Day

This is a holiday made popular on Instagram. I can get behind this one! Any excuse to share the love of my precious Ollie.

National Pet Day Spokesdog, Ollie

April 12th - National Hug a Blogger Day

OK, I will admit, I totally made this one up. But if other people can make up holidays, why can't I? I really think this one will catch on. Although I'm not sure I am ready to accept random hugs from strangers on the street. Virtual Hugs, anyone?

Happy National Hug a Blogger Day!

That's my Friday Five, but please remember tomorrow is National Grilled Cheese day. That's one holiday you wouldn't want to pass uncelebrated.

Anyone heard of these so-called holidays? Are you on board for National Hug a Blogger Day?

Mar on the Run, You Signed up for What!? and Eat Pray Run DC host a Friday Five link up every week. Check them out to read other Friday Fives or to link up your own post! Happy Friday, friends!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: How to Start Running Again

Welcome to my monthly series called Throwback Thursday! I take this opportunity to dig deep in the archives and share a blog post with you that you may have missed the first time around. More importantly, I share a totally self-indulgent throwback picture that will make you gush at how adorable I was, laugh at how dorky I was, or be in awe of how big my hair was (or some combination of the three) depending entirely on the decade the photo was taken.

Today, it's a photo from my dorky phase (which may or may not have ended yet). Look at my friend, all pretty and dressed up to celebrate her precious birthday, and what do I show up to the party wearing? Overalls and a plaid shirt!?! Way to make an appearance, Lea! At least I do look genuinely excited to see what is in that package! Maybe it's a My Little Pony! Thanks Lee Anne for sharing this picture with me. Too funny.

Throwback Thursday- BFF edition

The thing I like most about Thowback Thursday is that it gives me the chance to rewrite old blogs, fix old mistakes (ugh, I hate when that happens), and update pictures for Pinterest, because even though I only wrote this blog a year ago, I was able to improve it quite a bit!

This is a blog I wrote for myself after a running slump and honestly, I need to reread it again. It's called How to Start Running Again. I know as well as anyone, it can be hard to get back out there after some time off.  Here are my best tips to get back out there and start running again.

I'd love it if you would click through and check it out!

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Keep Running,


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reader Appreciation Giveaway Winner Announced!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Running for Ollie Blog reader appreciation giveaway! I am thrilled to announce our winner...and so is Ollie. Who am I kidding? He is chewing a tennis ball in the back yard.

I really do appreciate everyone out there who takes the time to read the things I write. Y'all rock.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulation to Tabathia B!

In case you didn't win and you want another chance to win a Running with Ollie Blog giveaway, head over to my Tommie Copper review and giveaway post for a chance to win compression gear from Tommie Copper!

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Keep Running,


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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Jump for Tommie Copper: Fitness Apparel Giveaway & Trampoline Workout

Disclosure: I was provided a Tommie Copper 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

Hubby bought a trampoline last weekend. We don't have kids, so we have to act like kids to keep us young. He thought it would be fun, so we headed to Academy Sports last Sunday afternoon and picked one up. By the time I got home from work on Monday, he had it put together and we were ready for a jumpfest! I hereby declare April the month of jumping!

The trampoline is great for working out. I bounced around for just a few minutes and my heart was seriously pumping. It's easy on the joints and just downright fun. Hubby does back flips and other tricks, but I am not that brave yet. I couldn't help but have a giant smile on my face like a little kid as I jumped on a giant trampoline. Fitness is fun! 
Hubby unloading the trampoline, Ollie is intrigued.
Trouble is Brewing
I thought the new trampoline would be the perfect opportunity to test out my new Tommie Copper compression gear that they sent me for a product review and giveaway...and I wasn't going to let a little rain get in the way.

The Trampoline Workout

Please attempt any new work out at your own risk.
When Tommie Copper contacted me about hosting a giveaway of their compression fitness apparel, I was excited to try it out and give you the opportunity to win it. My blogging friend Elle from Eat Run Sail has been raving about this brand for some time, so I knew I was getting into something good.

They sent me the women's camisole compression tank and compression capri pants. When I think of compression, I think of so-tight-I-can't-breathe, so I was pleasantly surprised at how light weight and comfortable they were. I really doesn't even feel like compression, it was so comfortable. If I can get the benefits of compression without suffering for it realizing it, that's even better!

The cool thing about Tommie Copper is that it is copper-infused apparel with compression that claims to offer increased performance, recovery and pain relief during your workouts and everyday activities. Copper is infused into the yarns and releases ions that provide anti-microbial protection, skin benefits and helps you feel better. Pretty cool, right?

What I Thought

The compression camisole tank: I love this camisole. It is super light weight and so comfortable, that not only did I wear it to work out, I also wore it under my clothes for work too. I love the longer length and the fit on this tank. It is easily my new favorite piece of apparel. My only issue is that the Tommie Copper logo started to peel off after a few washes. I did wash it a lot because I wanted to wear it almost every day, so it may have taken a beating in my washing machine day after day. Plus hubby does laundry, so I can't guarantee that the washing instructions were followed exactly, so it might have been my own fault. It's not a big deal to me, just thought I would mention it as part of my honest review.

The compression capri pants: The Capri length is my favorite silhouette. These are also light weight and comfortable, and they offer compression benefits without feeling all squeezed in. When Tommie Copper sent me the samples, I sized-up because I was thinking of traditional compression and I didn't want them to be too tight. I didn't need to do that at all, my regular size would have been just fine (so consider that if you are thinking of ordering). I wore these capri pants for my regular run, for some trampoline jumping, and also just a lot just lounging around the house. They are just about perfect for any activity!

Enter to Win!

Tommie Copper was generous enough to offer either the compression camisole tank or the compression capri pants for a giveaway (winner's choice). All that you have to do to enter is leave a blog comment and tell me you did it on the Rafflecopter form, plus there are plenty of ways to earn extra entries to win. The winning entries will be verified that the required entry was completed as well as the winning entry. Good luck, I hope you love them as much as I do!

You can check out the Tommie Copper website for more information or to purchase. (This is not an affiliate link, which means that I don't gain anything if you click or purchase, I am just providing it for your convenience.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs 4/7/2014 to 4/15/14
No purchase necessary.
1 winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Open to US and Canadian residents 18 years of age or older.
Winner will notified via email (if available) 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.
Contestants must enter on the Rafflecopter form in order to win.
All winning entries will be verified. If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.
Prize will be shipped directly from Tommie Copper.

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Keep Running,


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Friday, April 4, 2014

Runner's Math? It May Not be Logical, But it Works For Me.

Runners aren't exactly known for being good at math. I'm no exception. That's why we wear GPS watches to do all the hard calculations for us. We say and do things that may sound strange to the non-runner or the math-inclined. I call it runner's math.

1. "I only ran 10 miles today."
2. Running is 60% mental  30% physical and 20% nutrition. No, wait. That's how abs are made in the kitchen. Forget it.
3. 3 miles = 3 beers. It's called balance.
4. But that same ratio does not apply to a marathon. (Thanks @henryhoward)
5. One marathon = one free beer and a pig out dinner.
6. The 2nd half of a marathon is longer than the first.
7. Running>sleep when your alarm is set for 4:30am.
8. 5 miles is almost six and twelve is almost twenty six point two. Keep going.
9. Only one more mile = 10 more miles when you tell yourself you only have to run one more mile.
10. Your last PR subtracted by your current pace, times the numbers of miles to go, plus the number of miles finished = too much math to do in your head during a race.
11. $100 running shoes, $100 race entry, and hundreds of training hours = one technical shirt, one finisher's medal, and a bag full of coupons you will never use.
12. Water stops can totally be subtracted from your mental time (but not your official time, unfortunately).
13. The number of curse words used during the last five miles of your race is equal to the number of minutes after finishing that you start thinking about signing up for your next one.
14. Two miles is almost half way to five miles in your head, but 4.89 miles is not five miles so you run around the block again.
15. A birthday is an opportunity to advance in your age group and kick those old people's asses butts, although technically you are now an old person too. (But who's doing the math?)
16. "It's all downhill from here" does not equal the actual elevation at the end of your run.
17. 26.2 miles is only 13.1 miles each way, which is only slightly more than ten miles, and ten miles is only five miles twice. I can easily run five miles. I can run a marathon.
18. The ratio of the number of legs on your running partner to the amount of enjoyment of your run.
19. One minute on the treadmill definitely equals (at least) five actual minutes.
20. A one mile tempo run is way longer than a one mile recovery run.
21. Running after leg day = walking.
22. Running = Love.

Do you have any runner's math equations to share?

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Keep Running,


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