Sunday, May 24, 2015

Let's Go Streaking! Are You In? #RWrunstreak

Its that time of year again...time to go streaking! Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean run streaking, of course. Every summer Runner's World hosts a summer run streak and invites us to run at least one mile a day from Memorial Day to fourth of July. That's 41 days of running!

I always participate in the streak because it is a little boost of motivation to get me through most of the summer. When I don't feel like running (and let's face it, that happens to the best of us), I just tell myself I need to get in my daily mile in order to continue the streak. Sometimes that one mile turns into two or three (or six) but of course, sometimes it is just a mile, we all need our rest days.

Getting out the door is so often the hardest part, so committing to one mile keeps me consistently lacing up those shoes. And this year I have a treadmill in the #Shredshed, so there is really no excuse not to keep it up.

With the Pittsburgh half marathon behind me and Vegas Rock 'n Roll half not happening until November, I am actually easing up on the running this summer to focus on strength training, but I love the idea of getting in at least a mile each day. It keeps me moving forward, no matter where the needle falls on my personal motivation scale.

I've participated in years past with varying levels of success, but I was most successful when I followed these self-imposed rules:

1. Make Your Own Rules
Runner's World has a nice little FAQ page outlining the guidelines for the streak. Can I walk my miles? Runner's World says no. I say yes. Why not? I know it's technically a running streak, but sometimes my body needs a break. It's not like the Runner's World streak police are lurking in the bushes making sure you didn't walk. Do what works for you.

2. Use the Term 'Streak' Loosely
Call me a rule breaker, but I think of it like this: If I run 9 days in a row then some event beyond my control, like a wine hangover bad allergies, prevent me from continuing the streak, should it really be game over? Again, I say no. Pick it back up where you left off. After all, what is better? At the end of 41 days to say you ran 8 days in a row and quit the streak? Or to say you ran 38 days? Let's just do the best we can. #wycwyc

3. Listen to Your Body
The streak is meant to be fun. No streak is worth risking injury. If your body tells you to rest, then rest. Run. Run/walk. Walk or rest. Whatever works for you. Don't attempt to run through pain for the sake of a streak.

4. Be Social
Look at me, the self-proclaimed introvert telling you to be more social! It's the social part that makes it the most fun for me! The truth is, I probably don't know a single person in my real life (other than hubby) who has even heard of the Runner's World Run Streak, let alone is participating in it. That's where my million of internet friends come in. Use hashtag #RWrunstreak on Twitter and Instagram when bragging reporting your daily miles, then check out the other people running the streak using the #rwrunstreak hashtag and support them too! Who knows who you might motivate with your posts.

5. Have Fun!
The most important take away is that this is all meant to be a fun way to keep you fit and motivated over the summer and connect with an amazing online community.

In the beginning you will be fueled by the excitement of a new challenge, but after a few weeks when the novelty wears off, that's when the habit of running a mile every day will take over and will bring you through to the end. Together, we can do this!

Remember the enthusiasm our four-legged running partners have for running!

Will you do this with me?

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Feature Friday! Ellen and CrossFit and Ghosts, Oh My!

I am so very excited to introduce you to my friend Ellen. We are in-real-life (IRL as the kids say) friends that work for the same company. Ellen is wicked funny, smart and talented. When she told me she was starting a new fitness blog a few weeks ago I was instantly excited about devouring all the amazing content she has yet to create. She is multi-talented as a writer, photographer and graphic designer, so I have no doubt her fitness blog will be raging success! I begged her to let me feature her on my blog so you can all love her as much as I do!

Hi, Ellen. Tell us about your new fitness blog.
Lea! I'm so excited about launching the Matthew Effect this week! This blog is actually a series that explores the Matthew Effect concept and how it shapes our lives. Season One, "HEAVY," is 22 anecdotal episodes about overcoming obstacles through working out, eating clean, and changing my mindset. This season will chronicle my successes and failures inside these 22 weeks, feature flashbacks from my past, and glimpses into the future to help become a stronger, healthier humanoid. Overall, my goal is to help someone who feels hopeless know that "fate" doesn't have to win, even if that someone is only me.

Follow along at:
Instagram @themattheweffectseries

This seemed like the best picture to introduce you to my friend Ellen (and Voldemort).

What's your favorite way to workout?
I cannot answer this enthusiastically enough - CrossFit! I have joined the cult that is CrossFit about 2 months ago and have enjoyed every sweaty second. My workout history has included personal training, running, 5ks, etc. and CrossFit simply wins for me. It's my jam. The intensity matches my soul. All hail CrossFit!

What's your favorite way to unwind/relax?
I love water. I'm sure everyone knows the feeling whenever you can't turn off your brain. For me, swimming, going to the aquarium, or taking a long bath is how I can tune it all out. I also may have watched the Little Mermaid a few too many times...

What is your favorite workout song or music genre?
Four questions in and my nerd is already showing. I'm so embarrassed by both of my answers! Ok - here goes. I love talk radio. On my walks, I listen to episodes of This American Life or Serial. I love stories. That's not even the bad answer though. If it has to be a music answer, it's show tunes hard core. My sisters and I grew up on musicals and we were not shy about singing along. It gives me energy and if I need to get pumped up - that's what I listen to. I hope my box never asks me to pick that day's music.

Tell us something you are proud of (brag a bit here!)
I lost 22 pounds in the past 6 weeks! I have a long way to go, but that's a good start. Yahoo! I haven't been even close to perfect, but I have been working very hard with fitness and my eating. It's been an interesting start, to say the very least. I hope I get to keep bragging!

What motivates you to keep going?
Without a doubt, my future. I care about becoming a healthy person; I won't be able to do everything I want in life if it's cut short.

What advice can offer someone just starting out?
Step 1: Talk, talk, and talk some more. If you are find someone who is already doing something that you think you might be interested in, talk to them about it. I probably talked to 5 people about CrossFit before I signed up (my BFF Ryan, my dad, and so on). It's funny you mention this one because, Lea, you were one of those people I leaned on for information. Joining CrossFit was SUCH a mental hurdle for me and you were someone who calmed those fears. So, thank you!

Step 2: Just go. Make it easy on yourself. Find out what's holding you back. Scared about being in a new surrounding? Nervous about making a fool out of yourself or failing? Push the pause button on those fears and just try it once. It's all down hill from there. I promise.

Step 3: Focus on long term, not short term. You may not see improvement every week, but if you keep at it, changes will follow.

Cheering/supporting at the Dallas marathon!

What is your personal motto/mantra?
Demand Results.
I say that to myself daily. For someone who loves to think of creative excuses, I am learning to put myself in the position to where results are mandatory.

What would we find in your fridge right now? 
I'm a very proud owner of a clean-eater's fridge. I have only ice and ice packs in my freezer. My fridge has only fresh veggies and fruit in there at the moment. I keep a very low stock of food in my fridge and buy what I need for that week. Nothing more, nothing less. Eliminates poor choices for me.

What is your favorite guilty indulgence?
Tacos. I love tacos. My bestie, Ryan (who is also a fitness blogger), and I had a Taco Tour around Dallas and it was amazing. #tacos4lyfe You can find her on Tumblr, actually, at She's the I highly recommend Ryan because she's wonderful and is a pro at picking friends... like me. Sorry, what was the question again? I got lost on my Ryan tangent.

Ellen and Ryan

Surprise us with a fun fact about you.
I have a ghost in the family! I've been studying my personal genealogy and legend has it that my great (x7) grandfather, Colonel Michael Swoop, haunts his house in Alexandria, Virginia. Long story short, this Revolutionary War veteran doesn't care for British people in his house.

Oh yeah, we can't finish this without talking about your dog. I know Hubert is not much of a runner, but tell us about your favorite four-legged friend! Oh Hubert. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Hubert Dog (Huberto, HB, puppy bear) is my favorite person in the whole wide world. He is an 8 year old Shih Tzu / Lhasa rescue pup whose tongue is permanently out of his mouth. Hubert takes awhile to trust humans, but once he let's you into his heart he is the BIGGEST cuddle bug. I would take him absolutely everywhere if I could. If Hubert was a person, he'd be the well dressed Englishman in a bow tie with nerd glasses and a briefcase. He's a classy gent. That naps a lot. I'm so lucky to have him in my life. I hope he lives to be 104.

Thank you for having me and supporting my launch of the Matthew Effect Series!

me and Ellen hard at work!
Thanks, Ellen. You rock. Now everyone, please go check out Ellen's blog and follow her on Instagram. <--- seriously, go click away! Leave her a comment here and tell her how cute you think Hubert is!

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

5 Beauty Products for Runners

Some might question my authority when it comes to recommendations on beauty products, rightfully so. I'd describe my beauty routine as non-existant low maintenance. Sure, I like to look nice, but sometimes my definition of cleaning-up is smoothing out my ponytail and putting on a clean pair of Yoga pants. A beauty blog, this is not, but as a runner there are certain beauty products that get me through the workout week without looking like a total disaster.

1. Dry Shampoo
I have tried them all from drug store brands to prestige brands and this is the only one I have ever loved. (Plus it is fun to say. Psssst!) I picked it up at CVS. It is light and brushes out easily, leaving zero residue. This thick-haired gal doesn't wash her hair everyday (or even every other day) so this stuff gets me through the week. Even if you insist on washing your hair everyday (clean freak), it is great for after leaving the gym or lunchtime workouts if you don't have time to shower.

2. Chafing Cream
Unless you have perfectly toned thigh muscles that don't even think about touching and you live in an environment where it never gets sticky hot (if this is you, I hate you) you probably need some sort of chafing cream. I swear by Aquaphor during those hot sweaty Texas runs. It keeps me from screaming bloody murder in the shower when the water hits those chafed spots.

3. Leave in Conditioner
I may run half marathons regurarly but some might call me lazy. Two steps in the hair washing process sometimes just seems like way too much work. I like to shampoo in the shower and apply leave-in conditioner afterwards. I love this It's a 10 leave in conditioner that I picked up at Ulta, it leaves my coarse hair as smooth and silky as possible and it smells nice too.

4. Butter Lipstick
I adore this ColorBurst Lip Butter lipstick from Revlon but I am afraid they aren't making it anymore. If I can find it, I am going to buy all the remaining inventory. It really goes on like butter, because I assure you I know what a stick of butter feels like being applied to my lips! It gives just a hit of color that is not too thick and lipsticky (real word, I promise) but also not too glossy and sticky. It doesn't last a long time, but I love the natural soft look! I often apply it before races or workout pictures because it provides just a hint of natural color.

5. Moisturizing Gradual Self Tanner
My legs are so white they are see through. I am always sure to apply sunscreen when I work out outdoors because let's face it, I'd rather have pale legs than skin cancer. My shoulders always seem to get a little color, but my legs remain pasty white, even running through these hot Texas summers. Some say I should embrace my natural color, but I prefer a little glow. I love the Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer because the color builds slowly over time, so I don't end up with the fake tan look. If it starts to get too dark, I lay off it for a few days. It is perfect for applying just a hint of natural color to my legs while moisturizing.

This is not a sponsored post in anyway, just the things that I personally use and love. What about you? Do you have any favorite products or brands? Am I missing anything in my running/beauty routine?

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Friday, May 15, 2015

National Run With Your Dog Day Virtual 5K Giveaway Winners Announced!

OMGosh, friends! Elizabeth from six legs are better than two and I had such a great time hosting the first annual National Run with Your Dog Day Virtual 5k! There were so many runners, so many legs, so much cuteness! We definitely had the best, furriest, most-willing virtual race participants on the web!

Check out some of these four-legged virtual racers (and their humans) who used our hashtag #runwithyourdogvirtual5k. Make sure to scroll down to see the winners of our giveaway. Thank you to everyone who participated! This was so fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to our winners! I will be contacting you directly for your shipping information.

Thank you SO MUCH to our awesome sponsors! They rock!

Our Sponsors! 
I encourage you to visit our sponsor pages and like their shops! Your support of sponsors helps make these types of events and giveaways possible!


Thank you from all our hearts!  Lea (and Ollie) and Elizabeth (and Henri)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Virtual Fitness Studio Tour of Dallas/Fort Worth

If you think of Dallas, Texas and images of bucket hats and horses dance in your head, you are only half right. This city offers so much more than cowboys and rodeos. In other parts of the country I am sure ya'll (just kidding, I never say ya'll) assume we send our kids to school by horseback and spend our free evenings on mechanical bulls.

I assure you that Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW) is a modern thriving area. I sometimes go a whole week without laying eyes on a cowboy. Dallas is a large metropolitan city with all the modern conveniences, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife that you would expect of a large city. It's just a stone's throw from Fort Worth, which while also boasting a modern city life, has a genuine laid-back country feel.

If you were to come visit me in my city I'd take you to all the touristy hot spots. We'd go to the sixth floor museum at Dealy Plaza for a little JFK history learnin' and we would take a tour of the Cowboys stadium in Arlington (although, for the record: Go Steelers). We'd have dinner in the Reunion Tower, visit the Dallas zoo and of course swing by the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.

But this is not going to be that kind of tour, I am going to take you on a virtual fitness studio tour of DFW. We are going to check out the hottest fitness studios in all the best Dallas and Fort Worth neighborhoods. Come along with me as we go on a fitness studio tour of Dallas.

"It doesn't get easier, it gets more achievable."
The Burner @ Pilates Methodology
2615 Routh St, Dallas, TX, 75201

The first stop on my fitness tour was at Pilates Methodology. It was pouring down rain in Dallas that evening. I fought traffic from my marketing job in South Dallas and headed north to the Dallas Arts District to visit Pilates Methodology for the 6PM "The Burner" class. I loved their sign:

Rain Rain, That's okay. Pilates happens indoors anyways.

One of the great things about Texas is the weather. As the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes, it will change." (but they say that everywhere, right?). I was looking forward to the Dallas sunny skies again and I knew they were right around the corner.

I accidentally signed up for an intermediate class. Oops. Class was held on the 2nd floor of an old charming building. There were only enough spots for about six mats and the class was full in the quaint studio. We were set up with a mat, a ball and a Magic Circle. What's a Magic Circle, you ask?

The first exercise to utilize the Magic Circle was an upper body exercise where you simply hold your arms straight out in front of you gripping the circle while gently squeezing and releasing it with small movements. During these first few moments of class, I actually had this thought: "This is the kind of class they could do in an old folks home." Then almost immediately, as if a punishment from the Pilates Gods for mocking them, we did 50 additional minutes of exercises that made me feel like I was the one that should be in an old folks home and I permanently changed the name of the Magic Circle to the Wheel of Death. Well played Pilates Gods. I shall never mock you again.

only a blogger would stand out in the rain to get a picture of a sign, right? 

All joking aside, the class lived up to its name "The Burner." I finished up the class with jiggly legs and a smile. As I walking out it became apparent that my attempts not to show my pain failed miserably, because the instructor said to me, "I hope you'll come back again. It doesn't get easier, it gets more achievable." 

Torture Device of Choice: Magic Circle (aka Wheel of Death)

"Burpees don't like you either."
Fitness @ Dallas Strength and Conditioning
5626 Maple Ave, Unit 140 Dallas, TX, 75235

Day two of my tour, I was feeling a little sore from my intermediate Pilates session yesterday, but excited about my next stop at Dallas Strength & Conditioning: A gritty gym in a gritty neighborhood just outside the Oaklawn area. I wanted to make sure when I planned my schedule for the week, that I took a wide variety of classes, not just your typical studio classes. I have to admit, I felt a little intimidated walking through those doors. When I saw the dry erase board with the workout, the barbells and the weight stations I started to get a little nervous.

I arrived early and chatted with trainer Chris for a few minutes before I realized it was almost class time and I was the only one there. I couldn't decide if I really wanted 20 people to show up at the last minute so I could hide anonymously in the crowd or if I'd rather that I ended up with a one on one personal training session. It turned out to be the latter, and I was so grateful for the personal attention.

We did a few warm up exercises then moved right into a 40 minute intense fitness class. We moved through three circuits nearly twice, before the clock ran out. The circuits were a combination of cardio and full body strength training. We did exercises like burpees, barbell shoulder presses, lunges, kettlebell swings, wall balls and jump rope. It was very challenging for me, but with Chris' guidance I managed not to die.

I kept thinking while I was struggling to lift a barbell over my head repeatedly or finish a set of any given exercise that Chris would say, "That's enough, let's move on." You know, the newbie pass, but he never did. He was amazingly kind and patient while pushing me finish every last rep. He would tell me to rest when I needed it and pushed me to get back to it as soon as I could. He made me do every last burpee. I couldn't decide if I hated him or loved him for it, but in the end I felt so amazing. This is the place to go to get strong. I will definitely be back.

Torture Device of Choice: Burpees

"The Human Hamster Wheel."
Beyond500 @ Beyond Preston Hollow
5915 Forest Ln, St. 310, Dallas, TX 75230

It was my third day in a row of my studio stops and I was really starting to feel it, especially after yesterday's tough workout. There was no time for wimping out, I had a class to attend! After another long day at work, I snuck out a few minutes early and headed up to Beyond500 in the Preston Hollow area for the the 5:30pm class. I have to admit I was hoping for something a little low key, but what I ended up with was a fun, challenging, energetic workout that flew by so quickly.

The class utilized self-propelling machines that are like treadmills, but they are powered by your steps, so they don't plug in. The faster you run, the faster the belt rolls under you. If you want to speed up, you take bigger steps. As a regular treadmill user, it definitely took some getting used to! We did stacked intervals on the human hamster wheel, then moved to the floor for kettlebell and strength work, back to the hamster wheel for round two, then finished on the floor.

I loved the low impact, high intensity interval training of this class. That human hamster wheel shot my heart rate through the roof, even when I was running at a slower pace than I typically do on the street or a traditional treadmill. I really want to visit this studio again so I can work on improving on this fascinating machine!

Torture Device of Choice: Human Hamster Wheel

"Unintended rest day"

On Thursday my co-workers laughed at me all day as I limped around the office from my oh-so-sore muscles. I was really challenging my body in new ways this week and loving every minute of it. I make jokes about torture devices, but the truth is that I love pushing myself a little harder. I may not be the strongest, but I enjoy getting out there and busting a sweat.

I was scheduled for a Barre class on Thursday evening and I was a little worried. My sore muscles were really starting to catch up with me. I made a commitment to take a class and by golly (excuse the harsh language) I was going to give it my best shot.

This class was scheduled to start at 6:05 and my schedule had been so tight all week, I was a little relieved for the extra 5 minutes for the commute and to get dressed. My stress level was low and I was headed up north again for yet another new class. I entered the address in my phone navigation and drove for about 45 minutes before the navigation lady who lives in my phone announced that I had arrived at my location. I looked around at the houses in the residential neighborhood and was thoroughly confused.

There wasn't a Barre studio in sight. I called the studio and asked them exactly where they were located. Turns out there is a glitch with Google Maps and their location, and apparently this happens a lot. The very nice and understanding lady on the phone knew exactly where I was, which was about 30 minutes away from a class that was scheduled to start in 15 minutes.

Thursday turned out to be an unintended rest day. I was feeling a little frustrated because I was missing a class that I really wanted to try and I was stuck smack dab in the middle of Dallas rush hour traffic trying to make my way back to Fort Worth.

Once I made it home, I did a short restorative Yoga for runners session to ease my mind and body. I felt much better once I had the chance to get centered. Sometimes you just need to be flexible with your mind, body and your schedule. Maybe this rest day was just what I needed.

Torture Device of Choice: Dallas rush hour traffic

ALL LEVEL (VINYASA FLOW)@ Uptown Yoga - Uptown
2636 Thomas Ave, Dallas, TX, 75204

I was feeling stressed. Stressed about leaving work early to make the 5:30 class. Stressed about time. Stressed about traffic. Stressed about parking. I was feeling pretty high strung and I was looking forward to this Yoga class to help me unwind. I snagged a parking spot on the street and headed into Uptown Yoga to change into my workout clothes for class.

The class was packed with waiting Yogis in the large modern studio in Dallas' historic district. I found a spot on the floor and tried to relax before the class started. The room was a little warm, so even though the movements were achievable, I was sweating more in this class than I had all week. This was the perfect class to end a busy work (and workout) week. When they described the class as all levels, they really meant it. I am a beginner Yogi, I practice here and there, but not on a consistent basis. I was able to stay with the class for the one hour session without any problem. The soft spoken instructor always provided modifications for the more challenging poses. There were plenty of people in class just like me, but there were also advanced Yogis in class. I felt comfortable and relaxed. The Yoga flow gave my sore muscles exactly what they needed. I finished up that class feeling better than I had all week, both mind and body.

Torture Device of Choice: Heat

After class I had plans to meet up with a fellow fitness blogger Mai Lyn from Deep Fried Fit at Alcove, located right around the corner in this trendy neighborhood. The evening air felt great against my sweaty skin as I walked a couple blocks to meet up with her. We chatted about fitness, Fitfluential and blogging over a glass of red wine. It was a perfect relaxing end to a busy week.

"Comfort zone? What comfort zone?"
AcroYoga @ Soul Body Works
495 W Harwood Rd, Hurst, TX, 76054

It was Saturday and I was super excited. I was scheduled to take an AcroYoga class in the mid cities area near Fort Worth with a friend. I really had no idea what to expect. If I had known what I was about to do, I may have backed out before ever even attempting it. My comfort zone was seriously defied, but I came out of it feeling pretty great. AcroYoga is exactly what it sounds like: acrobats and Yoga.

Before the class. I had no idea what I was in for...
Within the first five minutes of the two hour class at Soul Body Works I was already feeling some serious internal pressure. I am the kind of person that takes time to warm up socially to new people (nice way of saying I'm awkward), and I immediately felt challenged. I wasn't sure that I could handle the kind of social and physical connection that AcroYoga required. Two Yogis work together to perform the poses. I had my best friend with me, but since we were both newbies, some of the positions required teaming up with the instructor or the other experienced people in the small class.

It took a few successful moves, doing things that I thought I never would or could, before I started to loosen up and build my confidence. The group was so supportive, offering detailed guidance, patience, understanding, and most importantly, a spotter to make sure I didn't fall on my head. They helped me flip into positions that I couldn't get to on my own and gave me the confidence to try all sorts of new things. My friend did an especially outstanding job. She had the core strength to do really well. She also had the courage to step up and try things that I was afraid to try at first. Her support and can-do attitude helped me realize that I could do it too. She did amazing and I was really proud of her. That's what best friends are for, right?

The class was two hours long because it took time to do demos of each move and then allow every team to practice/perform the moves with others close by as spotters. Any less than two hours would not have been enough time. I left the class feeling fantastic because the people at the studio helped me do things that I wouldn't have thought possible. I was proud of myself and my friend. So glad I didn't let a little fear hold me back from something great. If you ever have a chance to take an AcroYoga class, I highly recommend it.

Torture Device of Choice: Gravity

Thank you for joining me on my studio fitness tour of Dallas. I had a blast and plan to keep trying new classes and revisiting some of my favorites (I will master that hamster wheel). If you ever make it to Dallas, be sure to look me up, we can take a class together!

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

What You Can When You Can #WYCWYC

Conventional fitness wisdom says that if you want to get in/stay in shape you better join CrossFit, go Paleo or Vegan. You better do those Insanity/P90X workouts at least six days a week with an active recovery day, run marathons, obstacle runs and only eat "clean." You'll only get results if you give up alcohol, sugar, gluten, carbs and any hint of fun or pleasure in your life. Sounds enticing. Are you in?

The problem with these messages is that they exclude everyone who wants to have a normal life outside of their health and fitness routine. They exclude people who prioritize their families, friends and careers over hours in the gym. We don't all have the time and energy to pursue the look of professional fitness models. It doesn't mean we don't want to be fit and healthy.

What about the working mom? The busy professional? And the rest of the people that have active fulfilling lives outside of their workouts? What about the person who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle, but doesn't want the pursuit of health to take over their entire life, where does that leave them?

These extreme messages say if you can't go on a 21 day juice cleanse detox or attend a 5am extreme bootcamp seven days a week then you might as well accept the fact that you will be a fat, lazy, failure for the rest of your life. Isn't that uplifting? Motivating, right? Stop being so lazy. These messages say that it's your own fault that you don't look like a fitness model. You must not have enough willpower.

Then there is common sense. Or should it be called uncommon sense? Because it doesn't seem all that common in the fitness world. Why take extremes when you can take a sensible "What You Can When You Can" approach?

There is nothing wrong with prioritizing fitness, hard workouts or strict diets if that is what you want to do. But if these things are too overwhelming, too time consuming or above your current abilities or desires, it doesn't mean you can't still live a healthy active life. There is also nothing wrong with living an active lifestyle on your own terms.

I read Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone's book "What You Can When You Can" and it was a complete breath of fresh air. It is all so simple and uncomplicated. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Let's stop trippin' on guilt. Let's start loving ourselves and accepting that we are not perfect (no one is) and never will be. Let's seize every opportunity to do what we can (but only when we can). Let's not beat ourselves up when we fall short. Let's celebrate ourselves (and others) when we totally rock it!

When I first heard about this book, I didn't think that I was the target audience. I work out regularly, I eat healthfully most of the time. I thought this book was for people who were just beginning their fitness journey, people who didn't know where to begin.

But I was wrong. It is so much more than that. It's a mind shift. It's a lifestyle. I read this book on my flight to Pittsburgh for the half marathon and I realized that this book is for everyone. This book is for me. Especially for me and people like me that struggle with moderation. It's for everyone who ever had the dreaded all-or-nothing mentality. It is for everyone who strives to live a healthier life. Everyone who wants to improve and progress, no matter where they are in their fitness journey.

It's learning that all the little things add up to big things. It's realizing that a ten minute run (or walk) is better than an hour of not running. It's doing wall sits while you brush your teeth because that may be the only time you have to work out that day. It's enjoying (no guilt!) that slice of pizza (or two) at your kid's party and then (probably) eating a salad for dinner.  It means flossing one tooth a day because, while not ideal, it is still better than not flossing ever.

You don't have to be perfect. You don't even have to strive for perfection. You just have to make the best decision that you can at the time. Something is better than nothing. This is a health and fitness book that preaches common sense, moderation and self-love. Unheard of.

This book is a life-changer. #WYCWYC doesn't just apply to health and fitness. It is a whole new way of thinking that celebrates the small efforts, because small efforts repeated consistently over time snowball into big results. Mind blown.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Run a Half Marathon without Training (Pgh Half Recap)

Hubby and I ran the Pittsburgh half marathon with virtually no long run training. Want to know how we did it? Just follow these easy three steps.

How to run a half marathon without training

#1. Don't run a half marathon without training, it's a really bad idea.

#2. Seriously, don't attempt this. It is a completely bonehead move.

#3. I mean it, running a half marathon is hard. You should totally train.

File this blog post under do as I say, not as I do. Here is how I did it.

1. I (quote) forgot (unquote) to train.

2. Three days before the race I recruited someone to run with it with me who was even less trained than me (enter Hubby).

3. I ate cheesy bacon fries ( I know, right?) and drank a beer while sitting in a bar at 10pm the night before the race. Bad idea, right? I know!

4. I went to bed in my hotel room way too late. I slept like $hit.

5. I thought the race started at 8am when it really started at 7am. I didn't realize my mistake until the morning. I slept an hour too late. There was no time for bathroom breaks, breakfast, coffee or walking (or sanity). Good times.

6. I got on a bus that got lost going into downtown Pittsburgh. I experienced the closest thing I probably ever will to a bus-people riot. Don't make these people late for their Sunday morning jobs. They hate marathon runners. Lesson learned (don't take public transportation in Pittsburgh).

7. I sprinted at least a half mile to the start line from the bus drop off. I think I broke a land speed record. Time not officially recorded.

8. I begged a race official to let me in the closed corrals a half hour after they closed.

9. Hubby and I stood in the last row of the very last corral. With 20K people in front of us, we managed to be the very last people to cross the start line at the Pittsburgh half marathon.

10. By the time we actually started the race, I was so relieved to have made it to the start line on time (aka 30 minutes late) that the stress of running 13.1 miles felt like way less stress than getting to the start line.

But seriously. Bad decision after bad decision, I ended up running a pretty great race. Not fast. Not pretty. But Hubby and I did it together and it was one of the most awesome moments of my life, holding his hand as we crossed the finish line.

Have you ever ran a half marathon without training? Or are you much much smarter than me?

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Run with Your Dog Day Virtual 5K Instagram Feed

Wow! The response has been overwhelming! Did you know that May 5th was National Run with Your Dog Day? If you ask Ollie, he will insist that every day should be run with your dog day! To celebrate, Six Legs and Better than Two and I are hosting a free virtual 5k and giveaway! All you have to do to participate is run (or walk) with you dog and share your pictures using the hashtag #runwithyourdogvirtual5k. Check out the Instagram feed featuring some of our furriest participants! Add our hashtag to your dog running photos to be included! Don't forget to head back over to the original post for all the details and to enter the giveaway! Have fun and good luck!

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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Monday, May 4, 2015

May 5th National Run with Your Dog Day Virtual 5k & Giveaway

The holiday that you have been waiting for is finally here! The rumor that you've heard is true, May 5th is National Run with Your Dog Day! I teamed up with Elizabeth from Six Legs are Better than Two and some amazing sponsors to bring you the National Run with Your Dog Day Virtual 5k and Giveaway! So round up your favorite four-legged running partners and let's get started!

It's easy! Just run with your dog and enter the giveaway to win prizes! It's free to run and enter the giveaway! The purpose of our virtual race is to promote the holiday, share pics of our awesome running dogs and engage with the other people who run with their dogs.

Our prize sponsors are all small businesses that offer dog related prizes. We lined up some really cool things for you and your pup!

What is a virtual race? 
A virtual race is a run that is hosted online and the participants can run it where ever they live. You can run it on the street in your own neighborhood, a local track, trails or even at an organized local race. The idea is that you run a 5K (3.1 miles) on your own terms, then share your experience, pictures and connect with the others that are running the same virtual race on social media using our hashtag.


What do I need to do? 
National run with your dog day is officially May 5th but we know you lead a busy life, so we are celebrating with our virtual 5k anytime between May 5th-12th. Round up your favorite four-legged running partner and run, walk or (probably more accurately) get pulled by your pup for 3.1 miles (or keep going).

We want as many people to participate as possible! We know there are tons of running dog-lovers out there but this virtual 5K is also open to all types of runners/walkers and their furry friends. 

There are no rules and no national run with your dog day police lurking around the corner to make sure you completed every step correctly. Is your dog old? Not prone to running? Would your dog rather sniff bushes or have a stare-down contest with a cat? It's OK! Get your furry friend leashed up, get outside and make your best pass at it. 

Don't have a dog? May I suggest borrowing one or volunteering to run or walk with a shelter dog? Do a good deed and get entered to win fabulous prizes for your efforts! 

Let's Get Started!

1.  Download your race bib here. You can print out your race bib and include it with your virtual race pictures. Don't forget to hashtag #runwithyourdogvirtual5k when sharing pics of you and your pup.

2. Join our Facebook event and share a picture of your favorite four-legged running partner to meet the other dog loving runners.

3. Run a 5k (3.1 miles) with your dog to celebrate National Run with Your Dog Day.

4. Share pictures in our Facebook group, on Twitter or on Instagram using hashtag #runwithyourdigdayvirtual5k so we can find each other online.

5. Come back here and enter the rafflecopter giveaway to enter to win these awesome dog-related prizes from our amazing sponsors! The winners will be randomly selected from entries on Rafflecopter. There are tons of ways to earn entries, but you only need to complete one entry to be entered in the contest. The more entries you complete, the better your chances of winning. Complete as many or as few entries as you would like. Complete them all to get the most entries, or just choose the ones that interest you the most.

The Prizes and Sponsors! 
I encourage you to visit our sponsor pages and like their Etsy shops! Your support of sponsors help make these types of events and giveaways possible!

Paw Print Shoe Tags from SilentMiladas

Run Dog Collar from EmberSkyeDesigns

Reflective Compression Leg Sleeve from TaglineSports

My Running Partner has Four Legs Burnout tank from ShineAthletica

Lighted Hat from VividDogStudios

I run with my best friend necklace from RoxysCreations

My running buddy is a rescue dog vinyl sticker from SevenMilesPerSecond

Custom running journal from

Running Dog Tee from GoneForaRun

SPILeash from SPIbelt

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest runs May 5th - 12 2015

No purchase necessary.
Winners will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter
Entries on Rafflecopter will be verified. Entries not completed will be disqualified.
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
Prizes will be shipped directly from prize sponsors. Please allow 30 days from contest end for delivery of prize.

I understand that running or walking a road race is a potentially dangerous activity. I should not enter and run unless I am medically able and properly trained. I assume all risks associated with running or walking in the event. Having read this and knowing these facts and in consideration of your accepting my entry, I, for myself, and anyone entitled to act on my behalf waive and release Running with Ollie and all sponsors, their representatives and successors from all claims or liabilities of any kind arising out of my participation in this event. I grant permission to all the foregoing to use any photographs, motion pictures, recordings, or any other record of this event for legitimate purpose.

Ollie is ready to go! How about your favorite running partner? 

The Pre-Registration Contest!
Now to announce the winner of the pre-registration contest. We chose a random winner from everyone who pre-registered for our event. There were 173 pre-registrants and we used to choose a winner. The winner was entrant #139 which is Elizabeth and her running partners Jack and Lady. You can find her over on @fitpiratemom. I suggest you follow her to check out her #runwithyourdogdayvirtual5k Instagram pictures! 

Congratulations Elizabeth. I'll contact you on Instagram to get your shipping information. 

If you didn't win this time, never fear! There are at least ten more chances to win a prize!  
Have fun and good luck! Lea (and Ollie) and Elizabeth (and Henri)

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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