Friday  Five – Running Tips for Newbies

TGIF!  And I mean that!  The first week back at work after vacation was a doozy.

It’s been a minute since I last joined in on a Friday Five.  I’m happy to have found a few extra minutes to join in on the fun today!  Thanks to the DC Trifecta, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, for hosting every week.

Friday Five

So what are my five running tips?  These are just a few things I’ve learned over the past 18 months of running – hopefully any newbie runners out there can benefit.

Stretch!  (and cross train) – I can’t stress stretching and rolling enough.  It definitely makes such a difference in how you feel and how a long run can make you feel the day after.  I have a stick roller and a foam roller that I use.  A rolling pin can come in handy too, there just isn’t any texture to it.  Cross training is just as important because it adds variety and can help keep your entire body strong for the repetitive motion of running (i.e. your core.)  One of my favorite forms of cross training is yoga, it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be, you can do it virtually anywhere, and it helps out with the stretching.

Embrace your pace.  No matter what your comfortable pace is, embrace it.  I’m slow.  There I said it.  But I’m still running.  I’d like to be faster, but it’s not going to happen overnight.  Most of my other running friends are faster than me, and I’m not trying to keep up.  The one thing I’ve learned, this summer especially, is to run your slow easy runs, just that – slow and easy.   Last summer I was always trying to run everything as fast as I could, or at least at a faster pace than I was truly capable of, which resulted in a lot of walk breaks and not so fun runs.  So I’m taking my paces seriously, running slow when I need to and running faster when I’m supposed to.  It’s made everything seem much more manageable this training cycle.

Carry Water.  Even if I’m just going out for a few miles, I carry water (especially in the summer).  Even at races, I carry water (see above, in snow even!).  Some people rely on aid stations, but if I’m carrying water, I don’t need to stop.  It’s really just the comfort of knowing I can have water when I want it and not be thirsting until the next aid station.  When I’m out running in my neighborhood, there are no water stops.  There is a Dunkin Donuts, but I only step foot in there during a run if I need the loo.  (After my run is a different story – large iced coffee please!).  If you carry water no other time, at least carry it in the summer.  It’s so humid around here in MD that even at 60 degrees, I’m schvitzing more than a sinner in church.

If it hurts, stop. Period.  Running shouldn’t hurt.  I’m not talking the heavy legs, soreness from yesterday’s yoga class.  I’m talking pain.  Don’t run through pain.  Get it checked out.  You don’t want to make things worse.  Last summer when I hurt my knee, I rested a bit and then tried to run again and it was excrutiating.  I knew it wasn’t right.  I ended up having 6 weeks of no running, but had I continued to try and run through the pain, it could have turned into months of no running.  No bueno.  Get checked out, take some prescribed rest, and then get back out there (when you are given the go ahead!)

Don’t Beat Yourself Up.  Over your pace, over a missed workout, over your bad run, over your bad race.  Just don’t.  You are out there and doing more than someone who’s sitting at home with a bag of cheetos – so pat yourself on the back.  If you have a bad run, think about what you could have done better and aim to improve on that next time.  In the HR world we call those “areas of opportunity”.  If you are just too tired to get up and run or workout – it’s okay!  Sleep in and get up early tomorrow!  Just yesterday I had to miss my tempo run because I had to get up early for work and got home too late to fit in the run.  So you know what, I got up and did a couple miles today – it wasn’t a tempo run, but I got up and did something.  Running should be fun and if you are constantly beating  yourself up over mistakes or how slow you are, the fun isn’t going to last.  Then you’ll be asking your buddy on the couch to pass the cheetos.

So those are my tips.  I can’t wait to read everyone else’s!


Anything fun planned for your weekend?  If it wasn’t Cheetos on the couch, what would you be passing around?



Weekly Workouts 6/16-6/22

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  I know a few of you raced at Grandma’s Marathon and I can’t wait to hear read all about it.  I’m just now catching up on some things from over the weekend.  It seems that lately whenever I have free time, I don’t necessarily want to spend it doing anything that requires brain activity.

Last week was pretty good.  I completed the third week of planks and I’m finishing up the final days now….I missed a few days of it last week, so I picked up where I left off and I’m scheduled to end it on Friday I think with a final plank test.  Last week I tried a new recipe in the crock pot.  Italian Beef sandwiches.  Not really healthy, but a nice change up.  They were even Charlotte approved!

Just take a 3-3.5 lb chuck roast, throw it in the crockpot with some italian dressing mix, roasted red peppers, and some mild banana pepper rings.  Cook on low 7-8 hours.  Shred & serve!  We had ours on hoagie rolls with provolone cheese.  I put some extra red peppers and banana peppers on mine.

So last weeks workouts went as such:

6/16 – Plank Challenge D21 & 2.2 Miles – This was my plank test, as I mentioned last week I did a 2:12.  I also did a brief run in my neighborhood.  I forgot to take my Garmin with me and thought, “no problem, I’ll use Map My Run!”  Then of course I paused it while I was putting my phone back in my SpiBelt.  I know that I ran about 2.2 when I mapped it out, but I have no idea of the time…which is okay.  One benefit of using Map My Run (if you keep your phone in a belt) is you get to run by feel and can’t check your pace every thirty seconds, but you can still track your run.  When you hear your splits, the mile is already over and you can’t do anything about it.

6/17 – Plank Challenge D22, No More Trouble Zones – The plank challenges are starting to take a long time now.  Between the multiple types of planks and the multiple sets, they are turning into 20 minute ordeals…not a bad thing, but doesn’t leave much time for anything else if you are pressed for time in the AM (like I usually am.)

6/18 – Rest – I got up to run, but just felt so tired.  I even had my clothes on.  I started to head out of my bedroom after changing then decided to crawl back into bed.  With my running clothes still on.

6/19 – Hill repeats, 2.34 miles-  This was another fun hill workout.  I made sure to switch my Garmin to manual laps so I could track my time.  The hill was .15-.17 depending on where I stopped and fairly steep.  I don’t know what I’m trying to do on these hill repeats other than run up the hill as fast as I can.  I did a mile warm up and then did three repeats, with a jog back down the hill to cool down and a brief pause before starting the next one.  Then I jogged back home (only about a quarter mile.)  I did negative split the hill repeats, so that’s a positive.  The next time I do it, I’m going to do five.  After I got home, I felt I could have done a few more.

6/20 – 5.5 miles – Most people would not have done a long run after doing the hill workout the day before but I thought it was supposed rain on Sunday morning, so I went out to get my 5 miles in.  It was humid, but overcast so the sun was not beating down.  It was a good run.  I started out slow like I wanted, picked it up in mile 2, miles 3 &4 were my worst (I hit the worst hill at mile 3), but in the 5th I somehow was able to pick it up and the last half mile was amazeballs (thank you downhills!)

6/21 – Plank Challenge D23, PT exercises

6/22 – Plank Challenge D24, Yoga Meltdown – I haven’t done the Yoga Meltdown in a while, so between that video yesterday and my hilly run this morning, my but is screaming!

Total Miles – 10.04

 How was your week? 


Friday Five – Favorite Summer Activities

Yeah Summer!  It’s really here this week – my car read 100 degrees yesterday!  I won’t complain though, I’ll take this over the freezing cold that hung on for way to long this winter.

So along with summer comes a bevy of new activities to occupy my time.  Thanks to the DC Trifecta, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, I can divulge all those things in this weeks Friday Five.  These aren’t specific activities necessarily, but definitely things I’m looking forward to this summer.

Friday Five

Pool days and Pedicures – I finally joined a pool last year that was fairly cheap.  I missed their early bird deadline this year and couldn’t stomach paying what they wanted me to pay with the complete lack of amenities they had.  It was a pool at an apartment complex, it was nice and big, but no snack bar, snack machines, etc.  I put that money towards a larger pool this summer.  It has 3 pools, a splash pad, playgrounds, etc.  Just lovely.  Summer time also means pedicures are a necessity.  Gotta keep those piggies lookin’ good!


Being outdoors in general – just being able to go outside for extended periods!  I can take Charlotte to ride her bike, we can go to the pool, zoo, etc.  It was so hard being stuck in the house when it was so cold outside.  She would get so bored and I would get so bored – and she’s three, she needs to burn off that three year old energy.


Summer Fruits – I love the summer fruits that are in season.  Peaches, watermelon, strawberries, all berries…  Smoothies never tasted so good!  I’m planning to do some strawberry picking at some point this summer.  I think Charlotte will love it.

fresh fruit

Sweaty Runs – I know my face doesn’t look like it in this picture, but I do love a good sweat.  It makes things a little tougher, but it’s so much easier to get outside for a summertime run than winter.  The sun rises at about 5:30, so it’s not dark when I go out.  It’s not freezing cold so I don’t need a million layers.  I can just get up and go!  And a good sweat sesh in the morning makes me feel great the rest of the day.  Check out that glistening forehead!

sweaty run

And my most favorite of all?  HALF MARATHON TRAINING!!

I trained this winter for my spring half all on my lonesome, so this summer I signed up to train with the Charm City Run Half group again.  Our coach from last summer is returning and so is one of my running friends from last year.  I’m really excited to do it again and do it better than last year (knowing what I know now).  It starts in July and we meet twice a week, once for a track workout and on the weekends for long runs.  It’s much more fun training with other people.


Some of my BRFs from last summer’s group.

What are you looking forward to this summer?  Ever been strawberry picking?  Have any good strawberry recipes to share?

Happy National Running Day!!!

So as you may or may not know (my title kinda gives it away) but today is National Running Day!  “What is National Running Day?” you might ask.  According to, National Running Day has been held on the first Wenesday of every month since 2009. It is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.  You can spread your passion by organizing a group run, signing up for a race, or just sharing your love of running with family and friends. (source)


I’m loving it here!

Today I’m linking up with Jonesin’ For a Run and some other Sweat Pink Ambassadors for a National Running Day Interview.

national running day

1. Why do you run?

I started to run to lose weight.  Surprisingly enough, I grew to like it!  For the first time in my life I was feeling like an athlete and doing something I never thought was possible.  I like running races, I like the challenge of a new distance or trying to go faster, and I like all the people that I’ve met along the way.  Now it’s just a habit.  I feel “off” if I don’t run for a few days.  I also run to set a good example for Charlotte.  I started running when she was 2, so she doesn’t remember me not running.  I hope that by watching me train and run and make time for myself, she’ll know she can do it too (or do whatever she wants to do.)

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

This year is going to be tricky.  Brian went out of town yesterday and is not coming home until late tonight.  I have two options.  If I can swing it, I’m going to leave work early to get a run in before picking Charlotte up.  My other option is to just take Charlotte to a park in the afternoon and run around with her.  It won’t be a “run” per say, but it will be a run with my most favorite person in the world.  If all that falls through, I’m picking up my race packet today, that counts!

3. How many miles have you run so far this year?


4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

The races I have left for 2015 include the Baltimore 10 Miler this Saturday, the Charles Street 12 in September and the Baltimore Half in October.

5. Before I leave for a run I must have:

My Garmin, phone, a handheld water bottle lately, and my headphones.

6. Do you have one favorite app to track your runs?

I log my runs on Map My Run.  I’ve been meaning to try Strava though.  I’ve heard good things.

7. Who is your favorite running partner?

Me, myself, and I.  I run solo.  I’m not against a running partner, I just don’t have one to meet up with during the week.  I do like meeting up with a group though.  I like getting together with my MRTT group and in the summer I’m doing a half marathon training group again.  It’s nice to meet new people, learn from each other, and cheer each other on.

8. What races have you ran so far this year?

So far this year, I’ve run the Cupids Crush 10K, the White Hall 15K, the Kelly’s Shamrock 5K, Sole of the City 10K, the Frederick Half Marathon, and the Color Run.


Finish line photo at Cupids Crush

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be?

If you are just starting, start slow and give it time.  It will be hard at first and you will want to quit.  I promise, though, you will reach the day when your plan has you run 30 minutes straight with no walk breaks and you will do it!  And you will freak out and feel awesome.  Then you will want to go longer and do more.  Just be patient.

10.  Describe your relationship with running in one word?


national running day

Why do you run?  How are you planning to celebrate National Running Day?

Be sure to visit the other blogs in the link up and share your love for running!

Tales from Another Mother Runner Book Party

So I mentioned last week that I was able to attend the Mother Runner book party at Fleet Feet Gaithersburg.  The Another Mother Runner book series and community is really close to my heart because I found it early on my running journey.  Before I had running friends and when I was still in the throes of couch to 5K I found this book and website that pulled me into the running community without making me feel that I wasn’t really a runner.  It wasn’t pretentious and it was really meant for someone like me.  A mother who was starting to run.

I subsequently bought Train Like a Mother and started listening to Dimity McDowell’s & Sarah Bowen Shea’s  podcasts.  Each podcast was like listening in on a couple of girlfriends talking, not elite runners getting all technical about running.  I felt like I knew them or that I could know them.  I could totally be their friend!  I listened to what they had to say – how to come back from injury, tips for running in the heat, the cold, what to wear, etc.  They were my first BRFs, and I’ll even call them the running sisters I never had.

So needless to say, when their third book was coming out and they were going to tour, I had to go.

Dimity McDowell was coming to Maryland, but she was going to be down in Gaithersburg.  I arrived to the event early.  A byproduct of making sure I avoided traffic from Baltimore to Montgomery County.  Dimity came out to greet the few of us that were there and she came right up to me and a few other ladies and immediately gave us hugs.  She said to me “You look like a hugger!”   She asked us about our running, where we were at and chatted with us about how hot and humid it was out and asked us how we ran in it.  She moved on to some other ladies and I mingled.

Eventually the “party” got started.  Everyone took a seat on the floor and  Dimity read a few excerpts from her book.

Then she did some raffles.  The items raffled off included 3 Saucony gift cards, a box of Gu, a Nuun gift pack, a Soleus watch, a Balega sock gift pack, and a pair of Smith Optics sunglasses, some Ultimate Direction products, a Hyland’s gift pack, and I’m certain there were a few other things.  I was the lucky winner of the Balega sock gift pack.  I wore them on my 8 mile run this weekend and I am sold!

A pair of socks, a running hat, and a reflective arm band.

After the reading she signed books and took pictures.  It totally looks like we were having a moment in the first pic, but I think we were discussing how hot and sweaty we were.  (That store was hot!)

I collected my goody bag and headed home.  It was a really fun event and I hope they come back again soon.  When I got home, I put a pic up on Instagram and tagged @themotherrunner to let them know what a great event they had and how great it was for me to meet them.  They reposted a thank you to me and started following me…I can die now!  Ha Ha.  Their goody bag was no joke either – take a look at all it included:


During the event, when I looked around, I noticed that there were women there of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  We were all brought together in that room not only by our love of the Mother Runner books but also by our love of running.  Dimity and Sarah have created a community where beginners feel at ease with “real runners” and we all share the common bond of making time for ourselves and motherhood.   Wherever I am, I am part of a larger running community that will welcome me with open arms.  We are mother runners. I am a mother runner.



Have you read the Mother Runner books?  Was there a person, group, or book  (or anything really) who helped you along the way when you first started running?  What is your preferred brand of sock?

Friday Five – Blogs to Love!!

Happy Friday!  T-minus 9 days until the Frederick Half Marathon (not that I’m counting).  Let the weather stalking commence!!!  Right now I’m seeing mostly sunny with a low of 50 and a high of 74.  Perfect!!!  I’ve got a 5 miler on tap this weekend that I’ll be doing in my neighborhood so it looks like all my hilly runs have been done during the taper, super!  Thanks winter from hell!  I’ve been looking at my training over the past 3 months and I’ve got some goals for the race that I’ll share in next week’s final weekly recap.

So this weeks theme is Blogs to Love!!!  Everything has been about the love lately and I’m lovin’ it.  Aside from our lovely hosts’ blogs, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, here are a few more that I love to check out regularly.  In no particular order.


Run Salt Run – She is my running hero.  Ms. Salt, whom I’m blessed to know in person, is just all around awesome sauce.  She’s a great athlete, a great mom, and a beautiful person.  Her blog is fun to read and what you read is what you get with her.  She encouraged me to start this blog, and I’m so glad I did!  Please go wish her luck, she’s running her second marathon in New Jersey this weekend!

The Country Cook – Totally not running or health related, but this site is chock full of easy family friendly recipes.  My favorite sections are the crock pot section and the dessert section.  I’ve made the Beef Dip Sandwiches, Taco Soup, Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, and the Party Meatballs.  I’ve also made a few of the poke cakes to take to family gatherings.  Those are always a hit.

Running Out of Wine – Lisa is another one of my running heroes and she’s a local Baltimore runner.  When I first started running I was always trying to find race recaps and that’s how I discovered her blog.  I also love her Food Prep posts – I’m usually finding a recipe or some idea to steal.

Gettin’ My Healthy On – I found Katie’s blog one day while looking for a plank challenge and I liked hers.  After digging around on her site a bit, she’s got a lot of workouts and recipes on there.  So this week, not only did I get some fitness inspiration, I also found a recipe for Mexican Casserole that I want to try.  Her posts are really useful, some recent ones have been on taking care of your feet and she did a review of the Shoe Dog Analysis at Road Runner Sports.  There is a Road Runner in my area, although not entirely convenient, but her post made me want to go there.  Like yesterday.

Another Mother Runner – Not really a blog, but is the hub of all things Mother Runner.  I believe the website was all started after Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell came out with their first book a few years ago, Run Like a Mother.  I got that book last year when I started running.  It was full of their stories and stories of other women of all ages and all stages of life.  How they got started running, race experiences, etc.  I devoured it and went on to purchase their second book, Train Like a Mother, and their third book came out last month, Tales from Another Mother Runner.   They have really built a great community for female runners (mothers or not) and the site was a great resource when I got started running and it still is today.


Thanks again for the lovely link up Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia!

Friday Five


So what are your favorite blogs?  Aside from health and fitness, are their any other blogs you like to follow (food, fashion, etc)?



Friday Five – Brands I LOVE!

Happy Friday!  Work has been insane this week!  I’ve also been planning an event for my local HR organization which is tomorrow (Friday), so the last two weeks of planning have been crazy…it was seriously more stressful than my wedding.

Anyways…it will all be over after tomorrow.  Although I’m not to happy about being on my feet all day the day before a race.  Sole of the City is on Saturday!!

After missing a week or two, I found the time to put together my Friday Five – Brands I LOVE!!!  These things are all over the map because I love and use lots of things…

1. Target Brand ANYTHING! – Merona?  Yes please.  Up & Up?  Yes please.  Market Pantry?  Archer Farms?  Delicious!  Most of my running and gym clothes are from the C9 by Champion line and Charlotte is typically clothed in some manner of Circo or Cherokee from Target.  Their stuff is cute and inexpensive.  And for those of you interested, the Lilly Pulitzer collection for Target hits stores on Sunday.  Charlotte & I might be spotted wearing matching rompers this summer…just sayin’


2. Crocs Flip Flops – I’m not a fan of the huge Crocs clogs, but their flip flops are nice.  I live in flip flops in the summer and they are supportive and comfy.  I cannot wear the $1 Old Navy flip flops anymore (and definitely wouldn’t now that I try to take extra good care of my feet).  I don’t wear any other flip flops now.

CrocFlops3. Asics Running Shoes – I haven’t used many brands of shoes since I started running, but I know that I like these and they are good for my form.  I started out in Brooks – the Adrenaline and then the Ghost.  I had bought a pair of Asics Cumulus online because the color was cute (Turquoise & Electric Melon).  Later last summer when I had my bad knee problem the PT told me to never run in the Ghosts.  So I stuck with the Cumulus.  I bought a pair of Saucony Triumphs on clearance last fall that have been okay – I’m afraid to run too much in them because I’m so nervous about messing up my knee again, so I only use them for short runs.  In researching other Asics shoes, I came across the Nimbus, basically the Cumulus with more cushion.  So I added the Nimbus to my shoe wardrobe a few months ago when I was ready to retire my Cumulus’s.

4. Dunkin Donuts Coffee – If I’m going to get coffee in the morning, it’s from Dunkin Donuts.  Nothing wrong with Starbucks, but it is so darn expensive!!!  I’m not a coffee connoisseur, so if there is something extra special about the Starbucks beans, I don’t know what it is.  Dunkin always has the best flavors too.  They have their ice cream flavors out now, Cookie Dough, Butter Pecan, and Rocky Road.  Yum – can’t wait to stop in on my way to my event tomorrow morning (at 5AM).


5.  Benefit Better than BB Cream – I like the idea of BB creams because it’s a light product that has SPF, it’s moisturizing, and it’s just one product.  I’ve tried a few different BB creams and finally found Benefit’s.  It’s a liquid to powder so my face doesn’t feel greasy after I put it on.  It’s got SPF 35 and good coverage so I feel “made up” without a ton of makeup on.  A little goes a long way so it lasts for a while.


Thanks again to the DC Trifecta for once again hosting a fun link up!

 Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia

Friday Five

Starbucks or Dunkin?  What is your favorite thing to buy at Target?  Any other supportive flip flops out there I could try out?