Friday, July 31, 2015

Furry Friday Feature: Dallas Edition

Hi, friends! Happy Friday! Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature, a monthly post when I introduce you to a four-legged runner and their favorite running human.

Running with dogs

Am I allowed to have a favorite reader? Or are readers like kids and I have to pretend I like them all equally? Don't worry Mom, I won't tell the others. If I get a favorite reader (or at least top 5) I choose Jessie from Welsh Poco a Poco. She is a Dallas runner who is super speedy, adorable and has the cutest dog who runs. Jessie won my giveaway for the Flavor Run in Fort Worth and we ran it together. Together. i.e. she finished way faster than me.

Hi, Jessie. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.

Brooklyn is a two-year-old Weimaraner. We brought her home at eight weeks, and we selected her breed for its athleticism and great disposition. She is a "velcro dog," meaning she always wants to be in on the action! She especially loves running and hiking, and she has the half marathon distance three times with me!
furry friday feature
Brooklyn! That face!

Where are your favorite places to run with your pooch?

We love running at White Rock Lake in Dallas! Since we're Florida grown, we love being near the water!

running with dogs
Gorgeous! (nice shirt!)

Have you ever raced with your dog? 

Brooklyn has never entered a race with me, but she always helps me train and then greets me at the finish line with lots of puppy kisses!

running with dogs

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.

I ran the Dallas Rock n Roll half marathon with Deena Kastor's pace group. It was such a privilege running with my favorite elite athlete! Deena was cheerful and encouraging, and she helped me set a new PR!

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

Since I'm a full-time graduate student, time is a hot commodity. Brooklyn reminds me that it is a blessing and a gift to take time out of the routine and get outside and run! She lives up to the Brooks slogan: Run Happy! She is especially known for her goofy faces, which are often captured on camera!

Thanks Jessie for sharing Brooklyn with us! I hope to see you again soon at a local race.
If you love cute puppy faces and running, I highly suggested you check out Jessie's blog and follow her on Instagram.

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

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Do You Know Your Doggie's DNA?

Disclosure: This post is Sponsored by Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0. All opinions are my own. 

Ollie is a popular dog. People even send him emails. People are always asking about his breed and the truth is that we don't know for sure. Ollie was a rescue dog and lived in at least one other home before we became his fur-ever family (and the star of this blog).

This was Ollie when he was a puppy. So stinkin' cute, right?

Before he was a famous blog dog.

Then he grew up to be the monster dog he is today.

That frisbee never stood a chance

We think he is an English Pointer, but then again people tell us that he looks like a Blue Heeler. What do you think?
A Blue Heeler puppy.
We make assumptions of breed based on how our dogs look, but mix breed dogs can vary greatly in appearance and we often (up to 75% of the time, they say) guess inaccurately!

The truth is that we love Ollie no matter what his breed. He could be an English Pointer, a Blue Heeler, a German shorthaired Pointer or half dog/half monster. But to us, he's the stubborn, funny, sweet, sometimes disobedient, handsome boy we call Ollie.

When I heard about Mars Veterinary, the industry leader in canine genetic testing, Canine DNA test Wisdom Panel® 3.0, I was intrigued. I sure would love to know Ollie's breed(s) and it turns out there are other reasons to know your dog's breed(s) other than just love and curiosity.

Knowing your dog's breed can helpful when developing a training program that works with your dog's natural instincts. It can give you a better understanding of their behavior characteristics. It can help determine how large your puppy will grow and healthy weights of full grown breeds. When you know your dog's DNA it can give you an insight into how to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Does Ollie like to run, chase tennis balls and hate baths because of his breed? Is he really an English Pointer or are we way off? I don't know but I'm interested to find out!

Wisdom Panel will be at the Austin Pet Expo from August 1-2 to share more information about Wisdom Panel® 3.0 and to educate on the benefits of Canine DNA testing. If you can make it to Austin, you can swab on site at the event for a discounted price of $39.99. For those wanting to take home a kit, they can be purchased for the discounted price of $49.99 (regularly $84.99).

If you can't make it to Austin in August visit for more information or to purchase an at-home kit.

This is cool, right? I can't wait to learn more about Ollie's DNA and I thought you might want to learn about this too! I thought this was really great especially because it so affordable. I definitely plan to test Ollie's DNA. I'm so curious. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

For more updates on events and product discounts you can visit:

Still have questions? Check out the Wisdom Panel FAQs.

Until next time, doggie kisses for everyone! 

What do you think? Do you know the breed(s) of your dog? Would you like to know? 

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Five Ways My Head Exploded at #BlogFest / IDEA World & Sweat Pink #Giveaway

Last week was a pretty exciting week for me. I passed the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) CPT (certified personal trainer) exam on Monday morning and then on Wednesday I left for California to attend the BlogFest conference and IDEA World fitness convention in Los Angeles. I had an amazing time, met so many great people, ate a lot of food, and worked out a lot!
Quick beach trip with an old (I mean, young) friend before heading over to the conference.
Blogfest is a fitness blogger conference hosted by Sweat Pink nestled inside the much larger IDEA World Fitness convention in Los Angeles. We had two days of blogging related seminars with Sweat Pink, followed by two days of fitness sessions in the largest fitness convention, IDEA World.

I'm official! (I know my Twitter name is weird, but you should still follow me there.)
I've been home for a week and I really struggled at first to write a recap post. I started and stopped writing several times, deleted posts and started over more than once. I think it took me this long to write my recap because I couldn't possibly share all the information I picked up over the course of the conference. I decided to share the things that surprised me the most (aka made my head explode) plus I have an awesome Sweat Pink gear giveaway at the end!

Five Ways My Head Exploded at BlogFest / IDEA World

#1. Why not me?

My biggest takeaway from the conference "Why not me?" I can dream whatever I want and follow those dreams. If all these people could do it, why couldn't I? As a whole, they aren't any better or smarter than me. Whatever I work towards I can accomplish. I know I probably didn't need to spend a couple hundred dollars on a conference pass and a couple hundred more to travel to L.A. to come to that conclusion, but hey, I'm thick headed. It's so simple. My eyes were really opened to the possibilities.

#2. I like meeting new people! Really! Me!

I probably have mentioned before that I am an introvert by nature and one might wonder why an introvert would go off to a fitness convention by herself knowing such a trip would, in fact, require meeting and talking to people that I don't know. Don't I know I usually hate that? Turns out I love people who are just like me! It is easy to talk to fellow fitness bloggers because we already have so much in common and we all spend way too much time online writing about fitness! And besides, I already knew so many of these people in the online world, many have been my online blog and social media friends for years. It felt more like reconnecting with old friends than making new ones. And I did make so many new friends. People I genuinely like. Weird, I know.

All my new (and old) blogging friends!
#3. I was inspired mostly by the stories behind the presenters.

The blogging sessions were fun and engaging. I was inspired just as much (if not more so) by the successes and back stories of the people on the stage as I was with their blogging advice. I walked away with a renewed motivation towards blogging. Just sitting in a room with all these people who have the same passions as me was pretty darn inspiring in itself. I have so many new apps to try out, many books to read, and they may even have convinced me to jump on the Periscope wagon (but maybe not). I was thrilled to hear Gabrielle Reece and Natalie Jill speak and hear their stories, plus the chance to work out with Gabby!

My brush with celebrity: Natalie Jill and Gabrielle Reece. Look how little I look (I'm 5'8)!
#4. I have so much to learn

After Blogfest was over I was really excited about my IDEA World sessions because these were the sessions targeted at the fitness industry as a whole. Since I just passed my NASM exam the Monday before the trip, I changed all my sessions at the last minute from things like celebrity workouts and social media related topics to sessions on corrective exercises and program design. I really hoped to get some additional education from these sessions as everything I have learned so far has been from NASM. I felt like that college intern just trying to soak up all the information around me. Except for one dud of a session that caused me to miss the Jillian Michaels workout (sad face), overall the sessions were interesting and informative. I listened to a talk from Todd Durkin on exploding your sales, which was cool in itself since I had been following him online for a couple of years. Jason Karp did a runner's clinic which I really enjoyed. I worked with him a few years ago to review one of his books when I was still operating under the Running for Dummies blog. I walked away with the reminder that my certification is just the spark, the very beginning of this journey, I still have so so much more to learn and experience.

IDEA World presenters Jason Karp and Todd Durkin. How did Jason go from wearing a suit to running clothes? He stripped, of course. 
#5 The Hardest Part: What's Next?

I came home last Sunday and ate a cheeseburger with my husband as soon as I got off the plane. That's what most people do when they leave a fitness convention, right? I got up at 4am to catch a flight home that morning and I was starving once I got off the plane in DFW.

I spent the last week processing the vast amount of information. I felt excited, motivated and mostly terrified. Since I just passed the NASM exam, it is time to consider my next steps. What exactly do I want to do with it? Attending the conference just days after I passed the exam was such great timing. Here I was this newly certified trainer surrounded by thousands of people who were living and breathing my dream. From the Sweat Pink fitness blogger ladies (and guy, yes, there was one) to the big name fitness celebrities, I was surrounded by people who were making fitness their livelihood in some way. I still haven't been able to wrap my head around this completely. Any reader advice for moving forward as a newly certified CPT?

I'll leave you with a shout out to some of my blog friends and a Sweat Pink giveaway! I hope to see you next year at BlogFest 2016!

Blogger Shout Outs:

I couldn't possibly name every blogger I enjoyed meeting at BlogFest because I would bore you to death with the never-ending list. Seriously, everyone was just so great, but I have to give a shout out to the people who made it really special for me.

Alyse and Jamie from Fit Approach. Thanks to Alyse and Jamie for everything they do for the Sweat Pink community. It must be a massive undertaking to put on a blog conference of this caliber and I appreciate all their hard work. They built this amazing community that I am grateful to be a part of.

Ariana from Evolution by Ariana. Ariana was my roommate and I really enjoyed getting to know her. She was a great roommate, a sweet person and was patient with me as I picked her brain a bit about her personal training business. Ariana is really smart and a good trainer who shared some really good ideas with me. I was really worried about rooming with someone I didn't know (you know, the introvert thing), but my fears were unfounded because I couldn't have picked a better roommate if I had selected one myself! (You still owe me those hip exercises Ariana. ha!)

Ariana giving her lightening round speech at BlogFest
Christiana from Spilling Coffee and Dropping Things. Christiana was my BlogFest buddy. They paired first time BlogFest attendees (me!) with people who had attend before (her!) and I got lucky they matched up me and Christiana. She was fun and engaging and oh so sweet. She really cares about people and it is shows. I was glad to have someone so friendly and nice to help show me the ropes of the conference.

Me and Christiana from Spilling Coffee and Dropping Things.
I also really enjoyed meeting Jill Conyers, Tiffany Henness from Thoroughly Thriving and Cynthia Steele from You Signed Up for What?! in real real life (IRL as the kids say). These are such authentic, inspiring, real women who share their fitness lives via their blogs and social media. It was such a pleasure to finally meet them all in person after all these years together in the blogging world.

Memorable Quotes:

"You don't have energy, you generate it." @BrendonBurchard at the IDEA World opening session.
"Why fit in when you should stand out?" @Kwidrick at BlogFest.
"'Impossible' is only in the dictionary of fools." @Arobles125 at the IDEA World opening session.
"The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do." at the IDEA World opening session.
"Things don't just happen, you must MAKE THEM HAPPEN!" @nataliejillfit at BlogFest.

The Giveaway!

Couldn't make it to BlogFest this year? Just really love pink? Who wants to win a Sweat Pink Prize package? Prize includes a sweat pink bag (I sweat Pink so hard), a sweat pink trucker hat and pink shoelaces!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs 7/25/15-8/2/15
No purchase necessary.
Winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter
Entries on Rafflecopter will be verified. Entries not completed will be disqualified. (i.e. don't say you did it if you didn't.)
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must have a shipping address in the US.
Winner will notified via email and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected
Prize will be shipped directly from Running with Ollie in Texas. Please allow 30 days from contest end for delivery of prize.

Certified a week ago, already named the NASM trainer of the year...or they let me stand in front of this poster at the fitness Expo. You decide.

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Monday, July 13, 2015

I Passed the NASM Exam

I've had this dream of getting my personal training certification for a long time. I've blabbed on and on about it for years, you may even remember me talking about it here on the blog.

The first time I attempted the NASM material, I took the eTeach online course, but I was completely and utterly unprepared for what was ahead of me. I had no frame of reference and no idea of what to expect. I just assumed it would be relatively easy. After all, I'd been "studying" health and fitness for twenty years (i.e. reading books, magazines and blogs. ha ha). I was pretty sure that I already knew a lot of what would be taught. I'd thought it would be fairly easy. I was wrong. I had no idea it would be so science-y. That just shows you how na├»ve and unprepared I was. In retrospect, of course it would be science-y.

I remember thinking "What I am doing, studying to become a doctor?" (I am kidding, I realize it is a billion times harder to become a medical doctor than to get a personal trainer certification.) I was knocked out of it about half way through because I was completely overwhelmed with the material. I thought I would be able to study for an hour a night and succeed. I wasn't mentally prepared for more of a commitment than that. I didn't even make it to the midterms before I made excuses and concessions to allowed myself to quietly quit.

Fast forward nine months and I just couldn't let it go. I really wanted to do this. I felt bad about giving up. I wanted the knowledge and expertise. I thought it would help me grow as a person and elevate this blog. I wanted to do this because I am passionate about health and fitness and I love to write about it. This was a goal and a dream that I wasn't going to let die.

I did much better the second time around. I was mastering those muscle concentric actions, learning how to access and correct muscle imbalances and generally kicking butt with learning. I struggled a little with the weekly quizzes in eTeach, I always felt the questions were tricky, but they were preparing me for the exam. I surprised myself when I did well on the mid-term. I started to build confidence. I finished the course and printed out the study guide. I was scheduled to study for two weeks then take the exam. Within those two weeks I got a new job offer in my current field. A new job was a great opportunity and a huge relief from the nightmare I was living in my old job.

Then my new job was a challenge in the beginning and it took most of my physical and mental energy. I was working longer hours and traveling. The personal trainer certification goal fell to the wayside. My husband's friend was visiting us during this time and he encouraged me to take the test. What's the worst thing that can happen? You fail? Well, if you don't take the test, you failed it anyway. I knew he was right, but I think the fear of failing stopped me from attempting it when I didn't feel prepared. I just needed more time to study, I told myself. Then it slowly became less of a priority and before I knew it, I wasn't even thinking about it anymore.

Third time's a charm, right? I always say you never really fail until you stop trying. I settled down nicely at work, moved into yet another position and things calmed down a lot. Here we are a year later (time flies!) I finally felt ready to put in the time and energy required. I decided not to tell anyone except really close friends about my third attempt at studying because frankly, I was sick of hearing myself talk about it. It was time for action, not talk.

I started from scratch and opened the text book to page one. I pretty much forgot everything that I had memorized last year, but I was surprised at how much general knowledge I retained. It took me about a month to get through the material this time. I read each chapter, took the online chapter quiz from the text book and watched the videos on the NASM site. I did this chapter by chapter until I finished the text. I recruited a friend to be my practice client. Then I buckled down to really study. I lived and breathed this stuff morning, noon and night. I studied while I walked on the treadmill for an hour every night, I studied on my lunch break at work, I studied in-between sets when I worked out. By the time I was ready to take my test, I was so sick of looking at those index cards...but I really knew them.

I took the exam this morning. I've read horror stories about how hard the test would be. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. I felt pretty confident in most of my answers. I didn't mark any questions for review or go back and change answers after I entered them. I just chose the best answer I could at the moment and moved on. My mantra for the test was "The correct answer is staring you in the face, you just have to recognize it." It worked for me, after about 40 minutes I completed the test and passed!

My mother told me that when I was in elementary school I would open my text book on the first day of school, turn to the last chapter and cry because I was sure that I would never be able to learn the hard material at the end of the book. I initially approached the personal training text the same way as I would have as a young girl. I got overwhelmed by the vast amount of information without realizing that by taking it one chapter at a time, one day a time, with a little hard work, all the pieces would come together in the end.

It amazes me now that something that seemed so hard and overwhelming, became very possible after a few short weeks of work and dedication. I look back now and it wasn't at all as hard as I made it out to be in my head.

Part of me wishes that I wouldn't have dragged this out for so long. I have been talking about this for years, but once I buckled down and really committed, it only took me about eight to nine weeks to pass the test. But you can't wish away the past, you can only work for the future. 

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Does your running partner have four legs

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