Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Think Outside the Protein Shake: Muscle Gauge Nutrition Review

Muscle Gauge Nutrition Pure Isolate Whey Protein

Protein shakes are a staple of my healthy diet, I usually drink them twice a day.  Once in the morning for a quick breakfast on the run, and then again after weight training for aid in muscle repair and recovery.  When I was offered the chance to review Muscle Gauge Nutrition Protein Powder,  I had to first make sure that it passed my personal protein powder test before I jumped up and down in excitement agreed.

  • Is it low in sugar?
  • Is it low in fat?
  • Does it have minimal artificial ingredients?
  • Does it have Aspartame?

Muscle Gauge Pure Isolate Whey Protein passed with flying colors.  This was the perfect protein for me.  No sugar.  No Aspartame.  Low in calories.  No fat.  25 grams of protein per serving.  I'm sold.  But what does it taste like?  They have many yummy sounding flavors available; cake batter, cinnamon bun, ice cream sandwich, rocky road, and more. Is this protein or ice cream? Since I'm afraid of change a stickler for routine, I stuck with my old stand by chocolate, with no regrets.

When it arrived in the mail, I mixed up my favorite protein shake recipe to give it a whirl.  It was so delicious.  It makes me wonder why anyone would ever purchase an unhealthy chocolate milkshake when such a healthy delicious alternative is available.  This protein shake tastes like a chocolate milkshake, but it is good for you!

Besides the great taste, I loved that it dissolved and mixed easily with the almond milk.  It didn't clump like so many other protein powders.  There is nothing worse than a mouthful of clumpy chalk from undissolved powder.

Protein is an important part of my active healthy lifestyle.  Protein helps rebuild and repair muscles after a hard work out.  While I get most of my daily protein needs from lean meat and fish sources, it is convenient to have protein powder to fill in the nutritional gap.  Eating salmon at 7 am isn't that appealing or convenient for me.  I found that a protein shake is more conducive for a high protein breakfast on the go.

I want to share with you some of my favorite protein recipes that I made using Muscle Gauge Nutrition Chocolate Pure Isolate Whey protein powder.  This one is simple, delicious, and sort of tastes like drinking a chocolate peanut butter cup, but with 25 grams of protein per serving.

Chocolate/Peanut Butter Protein Shake:
1 Cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 Scoop of Muscle Gauge Chocolate Pure Isolate Whey Protein Powder
2 Tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
1 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
1/2 banana

Shakes are great, I love them, but I wanted to try an outside-the-box protein recipe. How about some chocolate protein bars? YUM-O!

Try not to notice the square missing in the corner.  I had to taste test before I could recommend!

This might be the easiest recipe ever, with only four ingredients, and no actual baking involved.  Even a kitchen dummy like me could pull this one off.  I found this recipe over on Pinterest.

Peanut Butter/Chocolate Protein Bars:
2 Cups all natural creamy peanut butter
1 Cup honey
2 Cups Chocolate Muscle Gauge Nutrition Pure Isolate Protein Powder
2 Cups old fashion whole grain oats.

In a large mixing bowl, microwave honey and peanut butter for 1 minute, until liquid. Stir until blended, then mix in the protein powder and oats until coated. Spread in a 9-by-9-inch pan and place in the refrigerator; cut into squares and serve chilled.

Next time I am going to add chopped walnuts.

These are amazingly delicious.  I think they taste like Christmas fudge.  I felt like I was cheating as I devoured the pan a single serving. Yeah, right.

Whether in a shake or in healthy peanut butter chocolate protein bars, Muscle Gauge Nutrition Pure Isolate Protein gave me everything I was looking for in a protein supplement; high in protein, great taste, and natural ingredients that easily dissolves in liquid.

What is your favorite protein shake recipe?  What outside of the box protein recipes have you tried?  Chocolate protein pancakes are next on my recipe list.  Stay tuned...

*Disclaimer:  These thoughts and opinions are my own, while I was provided the protein powder free of charge,  I’m under no obligation to give it a positive review.  If I hated it, I’d tell you.

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

Follow my blog with

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

RUNNING FORT WORTH (The best local fitness hot spots)

Playing up that stereotype

If you think of Fort Worth and images of cowboys and donkeys appear in your head, you are only about half right.  Sure, we have the historic Fort Worth Stock Yards where there is a twice daily cattle drive, but Fort Worth offers so much more than cowboy boots and rodeos.  In other parts of the country, I am sure ya'll (just kidding, I never say ya'll) assume we get to work by horseback and spend our free evenings getting thrown off mechanical bulls.  I assure you that Fort Worth is a modern thriving city.  I sometimes go a whole week without actually laying eyes on a cowboy.  I love it here.  It has a small laid-back country feel (read: big open spaces), but big enough and close enough to Dallas that you can live an active city life without the crowds and snobbery.

I wanted to share with you some of my personal favorite running and fitness hot spots in Fort Worth, but I realize as one person, I couldn't possibly have experienced all that Fort Worth has to offer.  So I reached out to my fellow fitness friends, followers, and social media contacts to ask about local favorites from the people who know best; the people who live, work, and exercise here.

Whether you are new in town, just looking for new places to check out, or visiting from another city, I think you will find that these are some of the best fitness related hot spots in Fort Worth.

Wondering Where to run in Fort Worth?  My personal favorite place to run in Fort Worth is on the Trinity Trails off 7th street and many of the locals I surveyed echoed this preference.  Many miles of running, biking and sure, why not, horseback riding trails along the scenic Trinity river.  Although I have yet to see a horseback rider there.

Also mentioned by the locals as a favorite running spot was the Fort Worth Nature Center.
Another great resource for places to run in Fort Worth provided by the Ranch View Gang.

My favorite Fort Worth race is El Scorcho.  Not for the weak minded (or the particularly sane), this 50k/25k race takes place in the hottest part of the Texas summer, in the wee hours of the morning, at Trinity Park.  If you are just crazy enough to run approximately 15-30 miles at midnight in July, this is the experience for you.

If you prefer to run your races in the light of day like a normal person, some of the other local favorites included:
Fort Worth Runners Club Labor Day Race
The Cowtown marathon
Trinity Trot
The Fort Worth Turkey Trot
Jingle Bell 5K

As a runner, I know that it is important to balance out my runs with some good old fashion strength training. So where do the locals go to build muscle and strength?

Boot Camps:  
I've attended several boot camps around town and these are the stand-outs in my book.

Fort Worth Boot Camp:  If you want to run like a Kenyan, you have to train like one!  This boot camp is led by professional runner and native Kenyan, Eluid.  I can tell you from experience that after a few short months, I was setting new race PR's.  Located on Trinity Trail north of the 7th street bridge, it also happens to be one of the most affordable boot camps in town.

Metroplex Adventure Boot Camp in Watauga is led by hard-bodied but soft spoken trainer Ben. Don't let that soft voice fool you,  he'll whip you into shape around Capp Smith Park faster than you can say lean muscle.

Elemental Yoga on Magnolia.  I've attended Brynn's restorative lunchtime Yoga class and I found her to be a knowledgeable, and peaceful instructor.  Her soft relaxing voice will guide you towards inner peace and a hard body.  She offers a variety of Yoga classes throughout the day for all fitness levels.

As the only CrossFit box I've ever attended, I have to give CrossFit Super Sport in North Richland Hills a shout out as my obvious favorite.  While it is probably the least intimidating gym environment I've ever been in, as far as the other athletes personalities are concerned, don't get too comfortable.  They are there to kick your ass all over the place, for your own good.  I would say the trainers are super nice, but how can you can call someone nice who deals out burpee penalties like they are playing cards?  I don't mean to scare you. They are incredibly motivating and supportive. CrossFit is for everyone.  They teach you everything you need to know and scale the work outs for any fitness level, even for a weakling like me.

Other local favorites included:
Karmany Yoga
Abundio Studio (for Kick Boxing/ Barre)
YMCA Fort Worth
Fort Worth Running Company Training Groups
CrossFit G6

This is the fun part!  Where can we go spend our hard-earned money on some new work out gear?

I've always found Fort Worth Running Company to be a great place to shop, and apparently from the results of my survey, I'm not the only one.  With their outstanding customer service and knowledgeable staff, they will help fit you for the right running shoes.  In addition to great shoes, clothing, and accessories, they offer running training groups and host several local races.  They are good people who give back so much to the community.  I support this local, family-owned business whenever I can, and you should too.

Other local favorites included:
Lukes Locker in Montgomery Plaza
Lululemon Athletica Fort Worth

After all that running, strength training, and shopping, you surely have worked up an appetite.   What are some of the favorite spots around town that offer a healthy menu

I can't rave enough about Terra Mediterranean Grill in Fort Worth at West 7th.  I work in downtown Fort Worth, so their lunch buffet is a weekly lunch outing for me.  While they have a wide variety of delicious healthy Mediterranean fare, I might be happy with just a giant plate full of the most amazing hummus in Fort Worth on the planet.  I could skip the pita bread and eat it by the spoonful.  Seriously.

Topping the survey responses was Spiral Diner and Bakery on Magnolia who serves a menu of organic vegan food.
Sweet Tomato salad bar off of 7th street offers healthy salad options as long as you know when to say when (and you have the willpower to pass on the chocolate chip muffins).
Chipotle off of University is a popular healthy spot serving burrito bowls and salads with all natural ingredients.
Central Market was mentioned as a favorite healthy spot because of their many healthy options including vegan, vegetarian, lean meats, and salads.

Sometimes the best part of all that working out is the recovering and relaxing.

My personal favorite is Massage Express in Watauga.  Don't let the unassuming name mislead you, they are highly skilled and customer focused.  I usually request to be massaged by the owner Eric or his wife.  Eric has an interesting story, he was once a corporate bigwig (my words, not his) until he was severely injured in an auto accident.  He received incredible relief from his pain through massage therapy so he ultimately went to China to become a specialist in the Asian massage techniques that helped him so much.  He eventually quit his corporate job to to start Massage Express, so that he could fulfill his life's calling, to to help other people in physical pain through massage therapy.

Other local favorites included:
Perfect Touch Day Spa (for sport massages)
Mokara Spa
Path to Wellness Chiropractic
YMCA Fort Worth pool and steam room

All the opinions expressed are my own.  These are my personal favorites and favorites of the people that I surveyed.  None of the companies or organizations in this post compensated me in any way for the above reviews or mentions. 

Have you experienced these places?  What did you think?  Did I miss anything?  What are your personal favorite Fort Worth Fitness hot spots?  Let me know in the comments!

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies

photo credit: "G" jewels g is for grandma via photopin cc

Monday, October 22, 2012


I did a guest post about motivation over on the Crazy Healthy Fit blog.  Click here to read my post on motivation.  How to Get your Mo-Vo back (tips for motivation).  Be sure to subscribe to her blog while you are over there!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Things I Suck at (and other true stories)

including grammer

I want to make one thing perfectly clear to all my friends out there in blog land.  I write a health and fitness blog, but by no means am I doing everything right.  Not even close.  I make bad choices and mess up all the time.  I am naturally clumsy and not all that athletic. I drink wine.  I have a deep love for chocolate covered pretzels.  I want you to understand that I even though I sometimes use this blog as an outlet to share my accomplishments, I also want you all to know about my shortcomings and failures.  Why? Because this blog isn't supposed to be about me.  It is about health, fitness and real life.  No one out there is perfect and good at everything all the time.  This is a lifestyle, we shouldn't be expected to strive for some standard of perfection that doesn't exist.  All that we are expected to do, no matter where we are in our fitness journey, is to do the best we can with what we have.

These are the two main rules I try to follow regarding my own health & fitness:

Move: Exercise almost daily.  Miss a day, or three, or a week.  Get back to moving as soon as you can.  Try to keep exercise on the forefront of your mind, as a priority.  Do the best you can.  It's OK to be busy, just don't be lazy.

Feed: Eat real, whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.  Mess up.  Go back to eating real, whole, unprocessed foods.  Mess up again.  Enjoy life.  Have balance.  Don't beat yourself up for your mistakes.  Commit to a healthy lifestyle that allows indulgences without guilt.  Disordered eating is not healthy either.

I have been fairly successful in some fitness related activities:

Note the trend.  Most of my successes are in running.  I am pretty good at running and cardio based exercises.  I'm certainly not the fastest and I can't run the farthest, but I have out-achieved what I thought I could do.  To me, that is true definition of an accomplishment.  Running is my comfort zone.

What happens when you do things outside of your comfort zone? Most of the time you suck.  That is why it is so uncomfortable.  In order to not to suck at things, you have to do them more (not less). 

The Things I Suck at (and other true stories):
  • CrossFit:  I try my hardest at CrossFit, I really do, but I am not very good it.  I often come in last place.  This is all new to me.  It feels really hard.  Lifting heavy (or let's be honest here, light) barbells is not my comfort zone. Pull-ups and handstand push-ups seem impossible right now.  Sometimes I really struggle.  But you know what? I've only been at this for a couple of weeks.  I show up and do the best I can so that someday I can not suck at CrossFit.  I believe I can get there.
  • Vlogging:  Ask anyone who knows about blogging and they will probably tell you that vlogs (video blogs) are the blogs of the future.  If you watched my first ever attempt at a Vlog, you can see my problem.  I am just not comfortable in front of a camera.  I talk too fast,  I can't organize and edit (and edit and edit and edit) my thoughts in the way I can when I write a blog. I am a much better writer than I am a talker.  I just need more practice (and maybe a teleprompter.)
  • Self Study:  I have been talking and talking and talking about getting my personal trainer certification for at least a year now (I am being conservative, it has probably been longer).  I thought about it a lot.  I dreamed about it a lot.  I just didn't actually pick up the (very expensive) text book enough times to actually learn anything.  I did learn one thing though, I learned that I suck at self study.  I need a course.  I need lesson plans, homework, pop quizzes, and midterms.  I've always been good at school.  Reading a long boring text book at my own pace just doesn't work for me.  Now that I figured out what doesn't work, I have adjusted my game plan for success.  I am signing up for an online course through NASM.  This will provide me with more of the structure that I need to succeed.
As I was writing this post, I asked my husband to help remind me of things I suck at.  What was I thinking?  The words housekeeping, bookkeeping, and cooking rolled off his tongue faster than I could explain I was looking specifically for health and fitness related suckage. I was thinking more in line of things like pull-ups, but thanks honey.  This made me laugh.  One thing I don't suck at? Being an easy going wife.

In my (humble) opinion, as long as you are trying to do the right thing most of the time, you'll be OK.  The key is to never throw in the towel and give up completely.  Always get back up and start over.  Keep trying new things even (especially) if you suck at them. Don't be afraid to change gears.  If something isn't working for you, find a new way to make it work.  If something seems too hard, keep doing it.  Keep living life to the fullest, keep dreaming, and of course...

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile 
See what I am up to on Pinterest    
Add me to your circles on Google + 
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


As of this week, I am now into my third week of CrossFit.  This is my first full week of regular classes after graduating the introductory On-Ramp classes.  In my short time at CrossFit, I have noticed a definite trend in my emotions.  I call it the Five Emotional Stages of CrossFit:

1.  Fear and Dread:
This is how I feel when I read about the upcoming WOD on my box's Facebook page.  I often worry think about the WOD for up to eight hours before actually doing it.  This is kind of absurd considering the WOD itself only lasts between 7-20 minutes.   This is where I have to learn to fight my brain and push past the negative thoughts that tell me I'd rather go home and watch prime time television (or sleep in).  Of course it is going to be hard.  It is supposed to be hard.  That is kind of the point.

2.  Acceptance:
Once I arrive at the Box, I instantly feel better.  Everyone is very friendly and supportive.  It is probably the least intimidating gym environment I have ever been in, as far as the other athletes personalities are concerned.  There are more than enough people around willing to help build you up, to give you pointers and the confidence you need to get through it.  I even start to get this false hope that it won't be that bad.

3.  Pain & Suffering:
This is how I frequently feel during the WOD.  I sometimes actually worry that I might die (or puke).  At times I have seriously contemplated throwing down the barbell and running out the back door in tears to never return again (I would never actually do that).  I feel pain.  I am suffering.  I am making faces that would scare small children (no one take my picture please).  I am paying someone money to feel this kind of pain?  What is wrong with me?  I remind myself this is all making me stronger. I am doing this on purpose.

4.  Total Elation:
Immediately following the 7-20 minutes of pure hell, I feel a top-of-the-world elation that is hard to describe. It is kind of like a runners high, but better.   I may be laid out on the floor while I am feeling this, but even if I finished in very last place, I pretty much feel like a total bad-ass.  These are probably some of the happiest minutes of my day (outside of the time I spend with hubby). 

5.  Excitement:
This is the part when I go home and all I can talk about (to my poor Hubby and anyone else who will pretend to listen) is CrossFit.  I rehash every miserable minute with such enthusiasm, one might think I was crazy.  Wait, I'm confused,  it sucked? So why are you so happy? I am very excited at this point to face the next challenge.  I imagine my future-self doing unassisted pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and back squatting my own body weight!  I can't wait for the next class...until the next day's WOD is posted on their Facebook page.

Then I repeat the cycle...

How about you?  Does your work out scare you?  How do you get through it mentally?

Keep Running (and WODing),


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningwithollie

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last Things List: My Last Purchases

I am generally a very cheap thrifty kind of gal.  It is my hubby who is the spender in the family.  I save money, try not to use credit cards, and always look for bargains.  I've definitely been known to hunt in the thrift stores.  I sometimes find it hard to part with the money that is in my savings account. 

Hubby on the other hand...

His spending philosophy is summed up in these two statements, "We'll make more," and "You can't take it with you."   I prefer to try to stay somewhere in the middle.  Spend a little, don't deprive yourself of life's pleasures if you can afford them.  However, stay away from credit and keep a hefty emergency fund.   Just like in fitness, it is not healthy to have an 'all or nothing' mentality.  Sometimes I save every penny and won't spend $5 on a bottle of shampoo, if I don't really need it (i.e. I have 14 other half used bottles in the cupboard).  Other times, like this week-end, I spend like I think I'm rich (I'm not even close).

A lot of times, I spend more money on experiences, like races and concerts, than I do on tangible things. 

Spending, like anything else, can be somewhat addicting.  When you start spending, it can be hard to stop.  It is important to find that balance.

With all that being said, here is my Last Things List: My Last Purchases:

1.  The San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon:  
The race cost a hefty $100 and that included the $20 off one-day-only anniversary discount.  I knew I'd be running this for months, but I waited until the last minute to purchase and paid at the top of the tiered pricing.  I never said I wasn't a dummy.  Luckily, I am driving down with my BFF and staying with her friend so there won't be any additional car or hotel expenses.  She won't be running, but will be cheering me on from the sidelines.  You can read about what else not to do when training for a half marathon here.

2. New Running Gear:
My other BFF bought me a $50 gift certificate for my birthday from my favorite local running store.  My friends are so great, they know exactly how to make me happy.  Yesterday, I ran my long run at Trinity Park which is conveniently located right next to the store.  I stopped by to spend my gift certificate immediately following my run.   I was very sweaty, even though it was cool, it was very humid as I ran along Trinity river, so I didn't want to try anything on.   I had a Nike running skirt and running Capri's in my hand.  I just couldn't decide between the two, so I bought both.  I officially now spend more money on workout clothes than I do regular clothes. 
I love the built in shorts underneath
I couldn't decide so I got them both

3. Go Pro Camera:
I went to Target to buy a new photo album for my mud run pictures.  The photo album I chose was on clearance for $7.  I like these albums because they have space to the side of the picture to write dates, names, etc.  It comes in handy a decade later when you are looking through old pictures thinking, "Who are these people?"   On the way to the photo album aisle, I stopped over in electronics.   Isn't this what always happens at Target?  They had the Go Pro 11 megapixel waterproof action video camera on clearance for $100 off. This was a completely frivolous purchase.  I have been eying the Go Pro for about a year now.  I bought a knock-off cheaper camera and wore it (i.e. duct-taped it) on my chest for the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  The quality was not that great and the battery died after 21 minutes.  I returned that camera after the run because I wasn't happy with the quality.  I am very excited to wear this new camera to make more action videos for my blog.  p.s. I bought the chest strap too, so I don't have to use duct-tape next time.

My new $7 photo album which was the gateway drug to the Go Pro Camera purchase
Despite the look on my face, I really am happy about this chest strap so I don't have to use duct-tape next time.

This is the 44 second video that hubby made from my duct-tape-strapped-action-video-camera. Click the arrow to play.  Now that I have the Go Pro, you can expect to see more of these types of posts on my blog!

4. Mac Pro Longwear LipCreme Extended Play Lipstick and matching lip pencil:
I know it doesn't sound like it from this post, but I really am a thrifty girl.  I generally buy drug store make-up and it has always suited me just fine.  I'll occasionally buy a prestige brand mascara or lipstick, but I generally take care of my beauty needs in the aisles of Wal-Mart.  This was a total impulse purchase.  I wasn't even planning on going to the mall.  My friend needed to return something at Nordstorm, and while I was waiting on her putting money back in her account, I was going the other way.  This lipstick is awesome.  Honestly, in my 38 years on this earth, I think it is the first long wearing lipstick that I tried that didn't dry out my lips and it actually stayed on my lips for hours, even after drinking and eating. 

5. Target Board Shorts:
Last and least expensive are my new shorts from Target.  They call them board shorts, so I kind of suspect they are supposed to be like swim wear for people who don't like to wear bathing suits, or maybe a cover up, but these shorts are great for running.  They are comfortable, made with 100% super soft polyester in bright fun colors.  The best part is that they were on clearance for $4 each.  I told you I was thrifty!  I bought three colors, I am wearing the pink ones, so they didn't make the shot.

I think it is time now to go on a spending-fast for a few months until it is time to start Christmas shopping.  I really have been blessed with more than I could ever ask for, and so much more than I need.  All these things are great, but the real joy of life is in my relationships and exploring my passions.  I am grateful for the opportunity to splurge every now and again, but like all things in life, you have to find the right balance.

Thanks for checking out my last things list.  What were the last things you purchased and loved?

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile 
See what I am up to on Pinterest    
Add me to your circles on Google + 
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies

Friday, October 12, 2012

How NOT to Train for a Half Marathon

There are a lot of running bloggers out there writing about how to train for a half marathon.  Who wants to be like other bloggers?  I thought I would go against the grain and tell you how not to train for a half marathon. What makes me an expert on what not to do?  Well, quite frankly, these are all the things I am doing right now to not prepare for the Rock 'n Roll San Antonio half marathon on November 11th. 

My Best Tips on How NOT to Train for a Half Marathon:

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

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

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

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

5.  Wait until four weeks before the race, then panic that you are not properly trained.  Beat yourself up over it a little. Tell yourself that you will probably finish with your worse half marathon time ever. Tell yourself this over and over. Feel bad about it.

6.  Don't have a plan, just wing it.

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

8. Let your ego get in the way and run too fast for the distance. After all, you wouldn't dare want to post a training run on the internet, for all the world to see, with a pace over a 9 minute mile (gasp). You know people out there are probably judging you by the pace you run.

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

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

I kid! I kid! Please do as I say, not as I do.  Please do not follow any of the above terrible advice.

It is true, I waited too long to sign up for the race and paid more than what was necessary.  I haven't been training for long runs like I should have been.  I sometimes have moments of panic that this race will be a total disaster.  However, I do have a plan.

I plan to do the best I can and not put too much pressure on myself.  I plan to walk if necessary and not beat myself up about it.  I plan to not even try to run fast or achieve a new personal record.  I can't expect the reward of a PR when I didn't put in the work.  I plan to take safety and injury prevention very seriously and listen to my body during training and during the race. I plan to think positively and just do my very best.  I plan to enjoy every moment of the race and just have fun!

Wish me luck!  November 11th is just around the corner!

What is your best advice on what not to do to train for a race?

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, October 7, 2012

10 TIPS TO PLAY DIRTY AT YOUR NEXT MUD RUN (Dallas Go Dirty Girl Mud Run Recap)

I was a teenager in the early nineties when the show Thirtysomething was on television, I distinctly remember thinking, "Why would anyone want to watch a show about a bunch of old people."  Remembering a time when I thought thirty was old makes me laugh.  I look around at my friends now, who are mostly 40, or at least pushing 40 like me, and I think we all look so great and young.  We don't look 40.  40 is supposed to look old. I still feel like a kid.  I still feel the same as I did in high school.  I still kind of feel like that little girl who used to play in the mud.  As a matter of fact, I am still that little girl who plays in the mud.  If you ever want to relive your childhood, to remember what it actually feels like to be a kid, I highly recommend reclaiming the twelve-year-old version of yourself by participating in a mud run.

I registered for the Go Dirty Girl Mud Run at Cedar Hill State Park near Dallas, TX and recruited my best friend and former running partner to get muddy with me.  I woke up at 5 am on Saturday morning to the coldest morning Dallas TX has probably seen since April.  I just couldn't decide what to wear.  Hubby reminded me that it wasn't a fashion show, everyday is a fashion show to me, I wanted to look cute, be comfortable, and warm (but not too warm, especially once I started running).  I stepped out on the front porch and it was cold, but seemed bearable.  I slipped on the cutest work out skirt ever that I got from Palm Beach Athletic Wear, and my Running for Dummies tank.  Just as I was leaving, I made a last minute decision to grab a long sleeve tech shirt, just in case.  I am so glad that I did.

After we navigated what seemed like miles and miles of dark winding roads, we finally pulled into the parking area.  We arrived at 6:30 am, about 90 minutes before the 8 am start time like they suggested, and we were some of the first people on site.  It was a little disorganized picking up our packets and checking our gear, but since we were practically the only ones there, it wasn't a big deal, and all the volunteers were super friendly and helpful.  Once we got our packets, we had an hour to kill.  It was freezing and windy, as the course was right on Joe Pool Lake.  We did warm-up exercises and stretches behind a food truck to block the wind and to try to stay warm.  I quickly traded my Running For Dummies tank for my Target Champion long sleeve tech top.  My apologizes to anyone in the parking lot that had to see me in sports bra as I made the switch.

Still Dark Outside!

Packet pick up

As I was checking my gear, I accidentally ripped off the free beer ticket from my bib.  This was a valuable little piece of paper, I certainly couldn't risk losing it!  I started to think about where I could stash it, where it wouldn't get lost or ruined in the mud.  In my sock? In my bra?  Then I remembered, my awesome PB Athletic Wear skirt had a zippered pocket in the back, perfect to hold a key, your ID, credit card, or better yet, a free beer ticket.  I zipped it away for safe keeping.

Armed with a water-proof disposable camera and a water proof action video camera strapped* to my chest, I was ready to run! (*When I say strapped, I mean duct taped, of course.)  There was loud music, a lot of energy, and some very excited girls at the starting line.  The first wave at 8 am wasn't too crowded, I guess all the smart(er) people, signed up for waves later in the day when it would be warmer.  Oh well, I never said I wasn't a dummy.  After the National Anthem, the first wave of the first ever Dallas Go Dirty Girl Mud Run was off!

These girls were so cute!  Lots of teams wore fun costumes!  I love those socks!

The obstacles were really fun and never too challenging, they seemed like they would be appropriate for any fitness level, and you always had the option of detouring around any obstacle.  When was the last time you crawled on your hands and knees through the mud, the last time you scaled a wall, or climbed up and back down a rope ladder 20 feet in the air?  I even skinned my knee.  This is the stuff kids are made of.  The running portions of the course were relaxed and laid-back through the wooded park area, there were plenty of walkers between the obstacles, and I never pushed my pace like I would have in a regular 5K.

During the first part of the course, I was more conservative in the way I approached the muddy obstacles, but by the end, I was diving in head first, attempting to get as muddy as possible.  One of the obstacles towards the end was actually in Joe Pool Lake.  They had low nets set up and you had to crawl under the net, through the lake water and mud.  The water in the lake was warmer than the cool air, so I almost didn't want to get out.  As I emerged on the other side of the nets, the camera man gave me a thumbs up and said, "classy," with surely a hint of sarcasm.  I was a little worried about what he saw through that lens.  I guess we will see when the professional pictures are published.  The lake water washed away a lot of the mud that I had accumulated to that point, but we had one final trek through a mud pit before crossing the finish line.

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun, or got so dirty!  We donated our old muddy shoes, they clean them up and give them to the needy, and dried off after we picked up our belongings from gear check.  We just might have been the very first people in the beer tent to redeem our free drink coupon.  Beer at 9 am on a Saturday?  Sure, why not?  After playing like a kid, we can at least relax like an adult with our one free drink.  My trusty skirt pocket kept my drink ticket dry and safe, even though I was submerged in water and mud several times. The Element V Lotus Skirt by Bluefish Sport is described as a tennis skirt on the PB Athletic Wear website.  I suppose you could do something boring like play tennis in it, but it really was the perfect mud run skirt/skort.  The light weight, quick drying, stretchy, fabric provided the perfect amount of coverage, breath-ability, and comfort.   I never once was constricted, weighed down, or over-exposed (those built in spandex shorts were key).


1.  Avoid wearing cotton at all costs.  Cotton absorbs water and mud.  You will get weighed down quickly.  Try to find technical gear that wicks moisture.  It will help you stay dry(er) and light.

2. Avoid loose fitting clothing.  As a matter of fact, wear as little clothing as possible.  Even though it was cold,  I was grateful that I was wearing my skirt/shorts.  My friend wore long pants and she said they got heavy towards the end of the course.

3. Have fun!  Don't take it too seriously.  Be prepared to get dirty!

4.  Invite lots of friends!  The more the merrier it seems.  There were so many large groups of girls in costumes that looked like they were having a blast!

5.  Leave the cell phone, GPS, iPod or anything else you still want to own tomorrow at home.  You will be submerged in water and mud several times.  Although I can almost guarantee that you will survive the course, your iPhone won't.

6.  Buy a waterproof disposable camera for pictures, be prepared for your pictures to come back looking like they were taken in the 70's.

7.  Bring a towel, a dry set of clothes, bra, underwear and shoes for after the run.

8.  Bring trash bags to cover your car seats for the drive home, just in case.

9.  Wear old shoes, and if you are feeling generous, donate them to the charity.  They will clean them up and give them to the needy.

10.  Enjoy your free adult beverage, but please be responsible and safe, please don't drink and drive.

Check out this awesome 44 second video that hubby made from my duct-tape-strapped-action-video-camera. Click the arrow to play:

Sounds like fun, right? Check out this link and see if a Go Dirty Girl Mud Run is coming to your city!

Have you ever done a mud run?  Any tips for my readers that I haven't covered?  When is your next race?

Keep Running,


*Disclaimer:  These thoughts and opinions are my own, while I was provided the Palm Beach Athletic Wear skirt free of charge for the purpose of review, I’m under no obligation to give it a positive review.  If I hated it, I’d tell you.

Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningwithollie

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Things I Learned at CrossFit On-Ramp

This morning I completed my very first week of CrossFit On-Ramp.  On-Ramp is a two week introduction training course, designed to get you up to speed on CrossFit fundamentals, so you will be armed with the knowledge and confidence to participate in the regular classes. They focused a lot on proper form, exercise techniques, and avoiding injuries.  Even as a seasoned athlete exerciser,  I learned so much this first week.  However, there were four important lessons that I learned pretty quickly on my own.

I learned to Suck it Up:

I learned that getting up at 5 am is hard.  Actually, I already knew that.  I should say, I was reminded of it.  More importantly, I learned that you just have to do it.  Yes, it is hard.  You have to learn to ignore all the negative self-talk and do it anyway.  Yes, you are tired, but 90% of the time you feel better once you get there.  Getting out of bed can be the hardest part.  Suck it up.  (Note to self: read this paragraph every morning at 5 am).

I learned you can't compare yourself to others:

Although Crossfit is very competitive in nature, you complete WOD's (Work Out of the Day) for time and your final time is written on your permanent record a dry erase board next to your name, the real competition is with yourself.  Did you push yourself 110%? Did you keep proper form?  Did you do better than last time? Did you do more than you thought you could?  There will always be someone in the room more fit than you (and probably less fit than you too).  You only need to compare yourself to you, and strive to get stronger every day.  You should absolutely use the competition aspect to push yourself, but you can't allow yourself to feel bad or frustrated because others can lift more or complete the WOD's faster.  Everyone is in a different place in their fitness journey.  I have learned that even if you come in dead last, dead last in CrossFit is still heads and shoulders above all the people who won't even try.

I learned you have to check your ego at the door:

In my short time at CrossFit, I learned that I am not all that fit.  That is kind of hard to swallow because I have been running and strength training for years.  Guess what? I am a complete newbie beginner here.  I feel like I am starting all over.  It is hard.  My times are slower than I would like.  Get over it.  I can't even imagine how hard it would be if I hadn't been lifting weights all year, and had I not just completed Insanity.  The thing to remember is that you are there to get stronger.  It is a learning and development process.  If I was already at peak fitness I wouldn't need CrossFit.  As the saying goes, "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."

I learned you have to be honest with yourself:

It might be tempting to look over your shoulder and see that others have already finished and start to worry that you are bottoming up the leader board.  It would be too easy to do one or two less reps or cheat on form (when you think no one is watching) to try get through the WOD faster, but you would only be cheating yourself.  A time on the board that isn't earned means nothing.  No one else in the room cares about your time (except the coaches), I'm sure most people are much more concerned with their own.  I'd rather take an honest last place than a dishonest first (or middle of the pack).  In order to get stronger and grow, you have to do it with full commitment to give your own version of 100%, whatever that happens to be.  You have to remember why you are there; not to prove to everyone what a bad-ass you already are, but to become a bad-ass in your own right.

These four little lessons are just the beginnings of the things I will learn in CrossFit.  These are not just CrossFit lessons, but life lessons; Suck it up, don't compare yourself to others, check your ego at the door, and be honest with yourself.  I believe if you follow these four little rules, you will have already mastered half the battle, the battle of the mind, and then you will be free to work on conquering the body!

Any advice out there for a CrossFit newbie like me?

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningwithollie

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fitness Identity Crisis

For a minute there, I thought I was having a fitness identity crisis.  I identify myself as a runner.  I am a runner.  I love running.  I love racing.  My blog is called RUNNING for dummies.  This is what I do. This is what I love.  Except I haven’t been running much at all lately.  I've been averaging 10 miles a week.  The old me would scoff those miles, the old me ran 10 miles a day!

I've been running for about 10 years.  I came to the realization about two years ago (I’m a slow learner) that in order to become a better runner, I needed to get stronger.  I joined a boot camp and started doing some strength training.  I would do boot camp several days a week, then run several days a week, still focusing on putting in as many miles as possible.  This went on for a year or so (on and off) until the beginning of this year when I decided to start a more serious weight lifting program.  Boot camp was great and brought me far, but it was time for the next level.  It was time to say good-bye to the 8-10 lbs. weights at boot camp and start to lift heavy on my own to get stronger!  Over the next 12 weeks, I lifted heavier, ran less, got much stronger, and to my surprise, became a much faster runner.  I lifted weights 3-4 days a week and ran 3-4 days a week (doubling up some days).  I liked weight lifting much more that I thought that I would, but after several months of the same routine, I started to get bored.  I progressed to the point where I couldn't advance to the next level without some professional help.  No, not from a psychiatrist silly, from a personal trainer.  I wasn't interested in getting injured, and I didn't have the comfort level to go there alone.

After about six months, I started to lose my motivation to get up at 5am to hit the weights.  I was missing more and more of those morning work outs.  I knew it was time for a change, but what now?  I knew strength training was important, I knew that (just) running alone would never be enough anymore.  I was proud of the muscle (abs, hello!) and the speed that I gained and I wasn't willing to lose them.  This is when I decided to do Insanity. 

Insanity was the first program that I ever did where I wasn't able to incorporate running into my routine.  Insanity was a 6 day a week program and was pretty intense.  I was committed to following the schedule to the letter.  During the first month, when the work-outs were easier (easier. Ha!) and shorter, I would get in about 2 runs in a week, but once I moved into the second month’s longer and more intense work outs, I was lucky to run once a week.  I missed running but I knew this was only a nine week program.  It was OK to take a temporary break.

Insanity, without a doubt, made me stronger.  Much Stronger.  The proof is in my before and after fit tests.  But interestingly, my running pace slowed slightly (15-30 seconds a mile).  I guess if you want to be a good runner, you have to actually run!   I finished up Insanity and was so proud of myself!  It was really hard and I saw it through to the end, but I was ready to start running again.

What was next?  My fitness style is that I have to be involved in a program or I have trouble with commitment.  I have to have a written schedule for a set amount of time and follow it to the letter.  I can’t just decide on a whim every day what I will do, or frankly I will probably end up doing nothing.  Maybe I should repeat Insanity?  Yes, that is what I would do.  I talked about it online.  I even did the first two work-outs.  Wait, no, maybe I should try P90X instead.  Yes!  Rather than repeat what was known (Insanity), I would venture into the unknown with P90X.  

Last Sunday night I planned to start P90X on Monday morning, but then I stayed up too late with a bottle of wine over-slept the very first morning.  Instead, I woke up Monday morning to a text from my friend asking me if I would be interested in joining her CrossFit box.  It was a great deal and I was intrigued.  Maybe this was the next level that I was looking for in my weight training earlier this year.  I could work with trainers, lift heavy weights, and get stronger. Less than 12 hours later I was starting my first CrossFit on ramp class.

My new CrossFit experience started this week (yikes!) and I am paid up until mid December, at which time, I can decide if I will continue with it or move onto something new. I am committing to 5 days a week at 5:30 am.  It is going to be tough.  Really tough.  I am going to try to incorporate some easy leisure runs into my evenings for enjoyment, and a long run on the week-end to train for the San Antonio Rock 'N Roll Half in November.

So maybe I not having a fitness identity crisis after all.  I am a runner.  A runner who has a passion for hitting the pavement, for long runs, for slow runs, for fast runs, and for hills.  Yes, I said hills.  I will never again be that runner who logs 50+ miles a week, but just because I will not be running as much these days, it doesn't make me any less of a runner.  I just happen to be a runner who does other things.

I am a runner forever, even when I am not running.

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile 
See what I am up to on Pinterest    
Add me to your circles on Google + 
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Only October Goal

I usually start each month with a recap of my previous month's happenings and some goals for the upcoming month, but frankly, those posts are becoming repetitive.  If I am boring myself,  I know how you must feel about it.  I have very similar successes each month, and likewise, similar short-comings.  I'll spare you the specifics, or if you really do care (so sweet) can read last months post here, not much has changed.

Honestly, I only share my goals with you here because I hope it helps you to think about your own personal goals.  

For October, I only have one goal, and it is to never allow myself to use "I don't feel like it" as an excuse to not do something, and I am not just referring to working out.

This rule will apply to all aspects of my life, goals, and responsibilities.

Studying for my personal training certification.
Cleaning my house.
Washing my hair (don't judge me, it is a lot of work).
Working on my husband's business.
Cooking a healthy dinner.
Going for a long run (or a short one).
Packing my lunch for work.
Emptying the dishwasher.
Putting the laundry away.
Going to bed early.
Getting up early.
This list could go on and on.

Let's just call it what it is, wish me well on my October endeavor to not be lazy.

I do have some exciting things coming up in October that I want to share with you:
  • This coming Saturday is the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Cedar Hill State Park in Dallas, TX!  I am so excited to get dirty, this is my first mud run.
  • I finally signed up for a personal trainer certification online course.  I learned this year, that self-study is not for me.  I need some structure in my life.  This time it is really going to happen.  No, really.
  • I joined Crossfit!  I am signed up for the two week on-ramp course and then for two months. This is both scary and exciting.  I've just been to one class so far, it was good, and I am not too sore (yet, ask me tomorrow).  Looking forward to what is to come.  I'm sure I will write a blog post about it soon, whether I feel like it, or not
  • I will finally film that planking Vlog that I have been talking about for months.  No, really.

As am typing this, a giant pile of hubby's business expense receipts is staring me down.  It is almost as if they are asking, "What don't you feel like doing now?"  Gotta get to work.

Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile 
See what I am up to on Pinterest    
Add me to your circles on Google + 
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...