Friday, October 28, 2016

Furry Friday Feature: Kaila & Nebby from Chicago

Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature. On FFF I introduce you the furriest four-legged runners on the internet and their favorite humans. Due to popular demand this will be a weekly feature instead of a monthly one! Stay tuned every Friday for even more furry faces.

This week I am thrilled for you to meet Kaila and Nebby from Chicago. 

Kaila and Nebby from Chicago


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

Nebby is an 8 year old Black Lab/Australian Cattle Dog mix. She is a rescue dog and contracted parvovirus at the shelter when she was just 8 weeks old. The vet gave her a 50% chance of living since she was severely malnourished and weighed only 3 lbs. After two weeks of IV antibiotics and fluids, Nebby finally starting to perk up and act like a normal puppy. I started running with her in June 2013 and she has been the best running buddy I could ever ask for!


Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch

Swallow Cliff Woods in Palos Park, IL



Do you have any advice for running with your dog?

Leash training your dog for running can be hard. My best advice is to make sure your dog is 100% leash-trained for walking before you begin running with them. Nebby knows the commands "left", "right", "cross", "wait", "get up" (go faster), and "easy" (slow down). I always keep her on a short leash and directly at my left side to prevent any tripping. We had lots of incidents in our first few months of running- her cutting me off, chasing squirrels, etc.- but she learned quickly and is incredible on the leash now. 

Have you ever raced with your dog? 

Yes! Two 5k's (Nebby's PR is 22:28) and several virtual runs (5k, 10k, and a half marathon!)



Tell us about a running moment that made you proud!


My proudest running moment is when I finally broke 20:00 in the 5k. I had been chasing this goal for a few years and working really hard to get my splits down- things like speed training, yoga, strength training, and ab work, double run days. I finally did it in February 2016 with a finish time of 19:43- a 24 second PR! I cried a few happy tears as I crossed the finish line and my coach gave me a hug (which he never does)!


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

Mindfulness. So often on runs I find myself stressed about school, relationships, or how my run is going and then I look down and see how happy Nebby is to just be running with me. It doesn't matter to her if it's a short run or a long run, our neighborhood loop or a new trail, or how fast or slow we go; she is just happy to be there. 



Tell us a funny story about Nebby.

Nebby loves to play with toys (she is amazing at catching frisbees)! Anytime someone comes home or we have guests over, she has to run and get a toy before she comes to greet you at the door. If she can't find a toy nearby, she will bring you a shoe or her doggy brush or anything else she can carry to you. My mom always jokes that if someone was breaking into our house to rob us, Nebby would greet them at the door with a toy.


You can follow Kaila and Nebby on Instagram: letyourcolors_run or on her blog: let your colors run

Thanks Kaila for sharing Nebby with us!





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Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Good, The Bad and the Frustrating (an update)

I am excited to tell you that Lea Genders Fitness strength & running blog is doing amazing. Better than I expected in the short time that I have been focusing on adding regular content. If you haven't checked it out yet, I'd love for you to follow along over there.

I keep thinking that it may be time to put this little blog to bed. It is hard (and time consuming) to maintain one blog, let alone two. But every time I am ready to pull the trigger something big happens as a result of this blog and it makes me realize that I am not even close to being ready to let it go. Besides I need my personal outlet and people want to see Ollie, right?

Lea Genders Fitness is more fitness article-oriented. I give a personal perspective, but it is not a personal blog where I blab about my personal life. That is what this blog is for (thanks for listening). I need an outlet for my writing, my thoughts, my excitement and my disappointments. Speaking of excitement and disappointments...

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE FRUSTRATING



PRECISION NUTRITION


I am thrilled to tell you that I enrolled in the Precision Nutrition course. I have been following them for about a year. I am always impressed with the quality of information that they put out and have heard nothing but great things about the course. I know a few people who have gone through the self-paced online course. One of the things I love about it is that it is both a science course on nutrition and a coaching course. It doesn't just teach you nutrition, it teaches how to coach nutrition. Having the real-world application was a big selling point for me. My books arrived on Wednesday and so far I completed the introduction chapter. Wish me luck and smarts. I need it.



VEGAS BABY


Well, things weren't looking good for Vegas. I was supposed to run the half marathon as part of the #rocknblog team on November 13th. I hurt my shoulder forever ago. I stopped lifting weights to let it heal and I started running even more since I couldn't lift. Well apparently the arm swinging movement of running made my shoulder worse. Then I was in this extreme pain (extreme for me, I'm a wimp) and couldn't do anything at all. I've been walking on the treadmill and doing some bodyweight leg exercises (occasionally) but it feels like a long slow healing process. I am trying to be patient but long story short, I haven't been training for my half marathon in Vegas. I already bought a plane ticket and when I called to inquire about changing it, I was told there is a $200 change fee because I had bought a non-refundable ticket.

The sling never really helped. 

My sister lives in Vegas but she will only be in town one day of the three that I will there. Many of my running and blogging friends from #rocknblog and beyond will be there so I won't be totally alone. My friend may even fly in from LA one day to meet me. Looks like I am going to go to Vegas to make the best of it...maybe run the 5K. We'll see. I am also on a no alcohol kick again (I do this every once in awhile). To sum it up, I'll be in Vegas for a half marathon that I can't run and can't drink.

I am looking forward to seeing my bloggy/runny friends and I am sure it will be fun, I am just disappointed it is not working out like I hoped. I was just going to cancel the trip and try to change my flight because I wanted to go to Costa Mesa in January for the Women's Strength & Business summit. When I looked into flights to Costa Mesa they were only $250, so it didn't make sense to pay a $200 change fee for a flight that only cost $250 in the first place. So I bought a ticket to Costa Mesa and left the ticket to Vegas alone. Which brings me to my next story

WOMEN'S STRENGTH AND BUSINESS SUMMIT 


Let me start by saying that I am the worst best friend ever. More on that in a minute. When I heard about the Women's Strength and Business Summit in Costa Mesa, California in January I was pumped! This is the conference for me. It is all about starting and running a successful fitness business, especially for women. I bought a ticket to the summit and then, as I mentioned above, bought a flight to LA. YAY ME. But wait...

Yesterday in passing my best friend tells me it is exactly 90 days to her wedding. Last night my husband asked me the date of her wedding in San Antonio.

"Oh, she just told me exactly 90 days...so let's see... Oct-21 through Jan 21 is 90 days...so Jan 21."

Oh $HIT! $HIT! I completely blanked on the date of my best friend's wedding and I am the maid of honor. Told you. Worst best friend ever. I literally have no plans ever, so the thought that there would be two things on the same weekend is unheard of.

I'm working on cancelling my ticket to the summit and praying that American Airlines will refund my plane ticket since I purchased it 24 hours ago. Wish me luck again. Of course I am disappointed that I will miss the summit but there will always be another fitness conference, your best friend only gets married once. Right?

That's all I have going on right now. Here is a picture of Ollie to hold you over until next time. Have a great weekend, friends.




Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Furry Friday Feature: RITA Z YOGA'S PUMPKIN DOGGIE BISCOTTI

Hi, Friends.

TGIFFF. Thank Goodness it's Furry Friday Feature. Welcome to the newest edition of Furry Friday Feature. Once a month I introduce you to a four-legged runner and their favorite human. We have a very special feature today. If you like dogs and treats (aka everyone) you're gonna love this one!

I am excited to introduce you to my new friend Rita (and her 9 dogs)!  I met Rita on Instagram (go follow her awesome inspiring Yoga page now @ritazyoga).




This story began because I posted a picture on Instagram of Ollie with his nose in a pumpkin. I mentioned that I just bought the pumpkin because it was cute, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. 



Rita commented that her dogs loved fresh pumpkin treats and it sparked a whole conversation. I realized Rita had created something great and I knew I wanted to introduce her to you so that she could share it with all of you. I asked her if she would guest post on the blog and share her doggie biscotti treats and she graciously accepted. Let's get to it...Hi, Rita. Take it away...



Hi, everyone!

I’m excited to be sharing some doggie and family fun with you today.

My name is Rita. I am a Yoga based fitness trainer and an amateur runner. I live on a farm with many animals; amongst them are a lot of dogs. Keeping treats in the house was just about impossible and “good for them” treats can be expensive! My dogs absolute favorite treat was a cranberry, pumpkin biscotti. So after constantly running out, I decided I should try to make them myself. I started researching both human biscotti recipes and homemade dog treat recipes. After a few trial runs, I came up with a yummy and healthy doggie biscotti recipe that everyone loves. I do quite a bit of canning & preserving so I use homemade applesauce & homemade pumpkin puree. You can make them too or use store bought…but, try to buy all natural with low sugar.

These treats are small, about 1 inch by 1" x 1.5". They are perfect for any size dog. If you’d like them bigger divide the dough into thirds or in half and make the logs fatter.

Also note: This is a very large recipe (because I have 9 dogs) so feel free to cut it in half.

You may need to be careful when the loaves are cooling…My boyfriend likes this stuff after the 1st bake, when it’s nice and warm. I often catch him sneaking some of it! I think it would be yummy with a nice cream cheese dip, after the 2nd bake.

Doggie Biscotti (for humans too)



This recipe is from the kitchen of: Rita Zwicky (@RitaZYoga)

Ingredients:
6 cups of whole wheat flour (white flour or a combination may be used)
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
1/3 cup of chopped, dried cranberries
1 egg
*½ cup of applesauce
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ - 1 cup of bullion (chicken or beef) 1:1 water to bouillon cube
**1 cup of pumpkin puree (I use homemade but you can use pumpkin pie filling if you’d like.).
If you don’t have pumpkin, substitute: seasonal squash (steamed, like the pumpkin), shredded carrot or shredded zucchini.
Note: Zucchini can add a lot of moisture, making the dough sticky. To avoid this, add more flour (small amounts at a time), as needed or cut the amount of zucchini to 2/3-3/4 of a cup.

Directions:


Preheat oven to 325°
Cover a large cookie sheet with foil - grease & flour or use a non-stick spray - set aside.
In a large bowl (I use the bowl from my Kitchen Aide) combine flour, baking soda & cranberries – set aside.
In a small bowl combine egg, applesauce, mashed banana, vanilla, ½ cup of broth and pumpkin puree – pour into dry ingredients.
Stir until combine well & forms a ball (use the dough hook on your mixer, if you have one).
Add more broth, as needed… only a few sprinkles at a time. DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH broth/water! The dough should be very thick and only a tiny bit sticky.
Place dough on a flour coated surface, sprinkle with a small amount of flour & kneed for a few minutes, until no longer sticky.
Form into a ball and cut into 4 equal sections.
Roll each section into a log about 8” long and flatten to about ½ inch thick.
Flip the flattened log & place on the foil lined, greased/floured (or use cooking spray) cookie sheet.
Bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes. Use the middle rack & be careful to not burn the bottom of the loaves.
Remove from oven & let cool for about 15 minutes.
Decrease oven temperature to 300°.
Slice loaves into thin slices (about ¼ - ½ inch thick). Use a meat slicer or an electric knife if you have one. Try to keep the slices as uniform in size (thickness) as possible.
Put slices on a cookie sheet in a single layer (do not overlap) and bake at 300° for 15-20 minutes or until hard and crunchy… like a cracker. Careful not to burn it but make sure the moisture is gone or they won’t keep well. If your slices are thick, you may want to lower the oven temperature and increase the baking time.
Let cool before serving.
Store in an airtight container. Or better yet… divide into equal portions and seal them using a vacuum sealer for maximum freshness and shelf life.

If you want to make your own applesauce and pumpkin puree, here’s what I do. Please be careful when canning and preserving! If you have never done it, it’s important to do some research and KEEP THINGS SAFE!

*For the applesauce: I use the classic recipe from the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”. Use brown sugar at a rate of about one quarter to one half the amount of sugar called for and also add a bit of ground cinnamon.

EXTRA FUN FOR THE FAMILY: This applesauce is great for the kiddos too! You can make a batch using 4-ounce jars (perfect for lunch boxes) and a batch using pint sized jars (perfect for family dinners). They’ll last a year and make great holiday gifts that all my friends and family love to receive. Don’t forget to give their doggie friends some of the biscotti! You can get creative with your gifts by adding labels to your jars of applesauce and ribbons to your bags of biscotti. You can even put them all together in a beautiful basket… BOOM! Enjoy 💜

**For the pumpkin puree: Cut a small pie pumpkin (or 2) into wedges and remove seeds (clean & bake the seeds… they are yummy and good for you too!). Steam the pumpkin wedges until VERY soft. The meat should be easily removed by placing a spoon between the rind and the meat. Mash meat with a fork or potato masher. Freeze any unused puree, in recipe sized portions, to use any time. If you don’t have a steamer: use a metal colander over a pot of boiling water (don’t let the pot run dry). If you don’t have pumpkin, check the recipe for some special substitution ideas! Have fun!

Thank you so much Rita for taking the time to share your doggie biscotti treats with us! These look amazing. As if Ollie wasn't spoiled enough as it is...

You can follow along with Rita and her amazing Yoga practice and her 9 dogs on Twitter @RITAZHEALTHYFIT and Instagram @RITAZYOGA.




If you are looking for other creative ways to use a pumpkin, check out my pumpkin workout over on Lea Genders Fitness!


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Winter Running Excuses Debunked & Running Shoes Giveaway


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. If I hated them, I'd tell you. 

Just as the trees shed their leaves, autumn brings in the perfect opportunity to shed our excuses. It's the season of change. We can either use it to motivate us or use it as an excuse. 

As a running coach and personal trainer I try to help my clients overcome their excuses. What is holding you back? What are the things you tell yourself that are keeping you from progressing? 

Sure, sometimes there are legitimate reasons that we can't run, but a lot of times it is our own excuses, rationalizations and justifications that hold us back. I am not exempt. As the holidays approach we all get a little busier, the weather gets a little colder and the sometimes the excuses start to pile up like presents under the tree. 



I challenge you to examine your excuses and go into the this holiday season more motivated than ever. Need some outside motivation? GORE-TEX® is hosting #owntherun, a social contest that invites runners to overcome their excuses in the spirit of progress.

You can enter by visiting www.gore-tex.com/owntherun or through a tab on the GORE-TEX® Products North America Facebook page and answer the question:

"What will you conquer to #owntherun?"

There are weekly giveaways of the latest men's and women's running shoes with GORE-TEX® liner:

Brooks Ghost 9 GTX® Shoe

Asics Cumulus 18 GTX® Shoe

Saucony Ride 9 GTX® Shoe

One grand prize winner will receive head-to-toe running gear including new running shoes with GORE-TEX® liner, running shorts, running pants, jackets, headphones, a watch and more! Here are some common excuses people use over the holidays. How will you overcome your excuses? Enter the contest between October 11 through November 8, 2016.

WINTER RUNNING EXCUSES DEBUNKED


"I DON'T HAVE TIME / I'M TOO BUSY"


Between the holiday parties, the dinners, the shopping, your kids, your friends and your need for at least six hours of sleep a night, sometimes it can feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to get in your runs during the week. But the truth is exercise is just like anything else, if you make it a priority you can find the time.

One success strategy is to get up early to get it done before the rest of the world wakes up. If you're not a morning person, then schedule those workouts on your calendar. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Schedule your workouts like you would any important meeting.

Another way to find time is to multi-task your workouts. Run on the treadmill while you catch up on your favorite show, plan a happy-hour-run (or walk) with friends instead of meeting at a restaurant or run during your lunch break at work.

Maybe you legitimately don't have an hour a day to workout but fitting in 20-30 minutes a day is all you need. Setting bare-minimum goals (for example at least one mile or 15 minutes per day) is a great way to stay consistent when life gets busy.

"I'LL START WHEN THE WEATHER GETS NICER"


My running coach used to say, "If it ain't raining, it ain't training" which I learned later was a military saying that means the troops are ready to go in even the worst conditions. The rain doesn't stop them and it doesn't need to stop us.

If you let the weather dictate your running schedule you might get out there a few times a year. If it isn't too hot, it's too cold, too windy or too wet. Unless we are talking about dangerous weather (in that case take your run indoors) we can overcome almost any weather excuse.

If you're a runner you must adopt the runners' creed: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor cold of night...." Wait. I think that one belongs to the US post office, but the runners' creed should be the same.

In wet weather GORE-TEX® lining technology in some of the top running shoe brands prevents rain and snow from from entering the inside of the shoe but still allows your feet to breathe for ultimate comfort in uncomfortable weather. I am wearing the Brooks Ghost 9 GTX running shoe. You can win them too!

Feel the pull to the pavement
Another common excuse this time of year is the cold weather, but this is an easy excuse to overcome. You just need to dress for success. The rule of thumb is to dress as it is 10-20 degrees warmer than the current temperature. Wear a zip-up layer over a synthetic-blend base so you can shed layers if needed as you warm up. Look for performance-wicking fabrics that pull moisture away from the body to keep you warm and dry. Cover your head, fingers and knees. You can lose a lot of heat through your extremities so a hat and gloves can go a long way in keeping you warm in cold temperatures.

"I'LL ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS AND START OVER JANUARY 1ST"


it is easy to slip into the holiday mindset and let yourself off the hook until January when everyone else is making their New Year's Resolutions. But what if you start now? What if you get a head start on your goals and come out on the other side of the holidays healthier than before? Want to enjoy the holidays? Great. You tend to enjoy life more overall when you're exercising and eating well. You can have fun, make room for indulgences and run. If you make time to run during the holidays you'll be more successful managing stress and your weight.

So what are your excuses? What are you going to overcome to #owntherun?  Head over to www.gore-tex.com/owntherun or enter through a tab on the GORE-TEX® Products North America Facebook page and answer the question:


Here is my entry: " I have a tendency towards a "I'll start tomorrow" mindset when it comes to the holidays. Since I know this is a potential downfall for me, I'll be aware of my thoughts and actions and commit to not using this excuse. I know if I want to make changes stick, they need to start now, not tomorrow."

GORE-TEX® wants to give you the confidence, encouragement and gear that allows you to #owntherun. They want you to feel empowered by the GORE-TEX® brand and encourage you to progress as a runner by overcoming your excuses. Giveaway runs between October 11 and November 8, 2016

Now Ollie and I are off for a run outside the #shredshed.




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Keep Running,

Lea



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