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?



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?

Friday Five – How to Celebrate National Running Day Without Actually Running

Happy Friday and Happy Race Day eve for me!  I’ve got the Baltimore 10 Miler tomorrow and I’m excited!  It won’t be an easy race, but because it’s not a half marathon it doesn’t seem so daunting.

This week I’m linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, again for the Friday Five Link Up.  This week’s theme is National Running Day!

Friday Five

Due to logistical issues, I didn’t get a chance to actually run on National Running Day.  So I’m going to give you 5 ways to celebrate National Running Day without actually going for a run.  Ready?  Here we go!

1.  Write a blog post about National Running Day.  I did that here.

2. Watch your kid run all over the place.  If I can’t run, at least I can watch her run up and down the sidewalk.  She’s a crazy kid.


3. Pick up your race bib.  I conveniently enough was able to pick up my race bib on Wednesday.  If that isn’t second best to actually running, I don’t know what is.


4. Win a National Running Day Facebook Contest.  CareFirst and I are soul mates.  I won a Rock n Roll DC race entry in February (that I ended up not using) and on National Running Day I won an iPod shuffle.  I’ve been thinking about getting one (since they clip on) for a little while now so to win one is pretty cool.


5.  Buy more running gear.  Since bib pick up was in a Sports Authority and they gave me a 20% off coupon, I couldn’t resist buying a couple more running tanks for the summer.




So you CAN celebrate a day of running by not actually running – let others do the running for you while you do other running related things.  I really did want to run though, I got mine in yesterday when Brian was home to watch Charlotte.

Did you do anything to celebrate Nat’l Running Day other than running?  Have any runs or races planned for the weekend? 


Friday Five Link Up – Free As a Bird

Happy Friday y’all!  This week has flown by thanks to the three day weekend.  (I’m not complaining).  Since it was such a short week I had so much jam packed in that I’m excited to recover from the madness this weekend.  Poolside.

I’m excited to link up with the DC Trifecta, Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia, again this morning for the Friday Five Link Up.

Friday Five

Today’s theme was a free one!  Can’t wait to see what everyone else is talking about in this week’s link up!  I’m being kinda random and just sharing some things that happened this week.

1.  You know you’re a mother runner when:  your daughter takes a picture of her feet to be like mommy.



2.  I started a 30 Day Plank Challenge.  It’s from My Fitness Pal.  I like this plank challenge because it’s not just straight planks.  It incorporates side planks, walking planks, alternating hand planks, and spiderman planks over the course of 30 days.  At the end of every week in the challenge you do a standard plank test to see your progress.  I started with a baseline of 1:33.  I might have been able to hold it longer, but I didn’t.  So we’ll see how the rest of the month goes.  If you want to play along – follow me on Facebook!


Click picture to be taken to Challenge site.

3.  Playlist updates.  I listen to Entertainment Weekly radio on Sirius XM and yesterday they were talking about Prince.  Specifically they were talking about all the songs he has written for other people.  He’s such an amazing artist and has written so many songs.  I probably should have taken the opportunity to go see his free concert in Baltimore a few weeks ago, but that was too close to all the craziness so I didn’t even entertain the idea.  But yesterday’s radio conversation made me add a few Prince goodies to my playlist.

  • Lets Go Crazy
  • When You Were Mine
  • Controversy
  • 1999
  • I Would Die For You

There are so many more!!!


4.  Yesterday I did my first hill workout (all by myself).  I need to fine tune it a bit, but I found a decent hill – not too hard, not too easy – along my route.  So I ran to the hill (about 2 miles) and did 3 sprints up the hill.  I cooled down by walking back down.  The hill was only about a tenth of a mile, but I ran it as fast as I could.  When I checked my watch the sprints were in the 7:30s.  I’d like to try for doing 5 at a time.  I waited too long to go out plus it was 97% humidity – 3 was enough all I had time for.  I ran back home and my total mileage was about 3 miles.  I need to use the lap feature on my watch to track this.  Which I didn’t yesterday, so my garmin didn’t really give me any data on how I did.  I’ll try again next week.

5.  Also, yesterday evening, and I’ll do a full recap early next week, I went down to Fleet Feet in Gaithersburg, MD and saw Dimity McDowell from Another Mother Runner speak.  It was a book party for Tales from Another Mother Runner.  She was so nice and friendly – she came out and walked right up to me and gave me a hug.  Lovely lovely lady.  Since I started running last year, the Mother Runner books were my bibles on getting started.  So I got a few pics, got my book signed, and even won one of the raffles!  It was a great evening!

Look who else I ran into there – none other than Cynthia herself!  She was there with her MRTT group.



Last night I was meeting all kinds of running celebrities!


So there you have it.  Five things from my week.


Do you do hill workouts?  Please share your routine with me?  What is your favorite Prince song?  Have you read any of the Mother Runner books?

Friday Five – RACE DAY!!!

Happy May!!  Finally!!!  It’s about to be spring time up in here!


I wonder how many other blog posts will be featuring Mr. Timberlake today.

Because of my work trip, I haven’t done much running this week.  Our nights were too long and days too early.  Plus the sun didn’t rise until close to 7AM down there and that beautiful jogging path was pitch black at 6 AM when I needed to get my workout in.  I did yoga and PT in my room instead.  Yes I could have used the treadmill, but the motivation to leave the room for anything other than running outside wasn’t there.  This girl is treadmilled out.

This morning I ran my first run since Sunday.  I did a short loop in my neighborhood and left my Garmin at home. I just wanted to try this whole “running by feel” thing I keep hearing about.  I had Map My Run all set up so I could at least record the run accurately, but alas, I paused it as I was putting my phone back in my Spi belt.  All I know for sure is that it was somewhere between 2 & 2.5 miles and less than 30 minutes.  I may do this more often for short easy runs.

The timing of this week’s Friday Five is totally on point for me this week.  RACE DAY!  Guess who has a race day this weekend?    This girl!!!
I also found out this week that I won two tickets into the King Crab VIP tent after the race on Sunday!!  It’s catered by Outback Steakhouse.  I plan to eat AAALLL the Bloomin’ Onions when I’m done.

So with Race Day in mind, here are five things I’ve made sure to have ready for Sunday.

Sunscreen – Especially now.  This time of year can be really deceptive.  It’s sunny, yet chilly.  So you somehow end up with a sunburn because it didn’t even cross your mind to put it on since it’s only 50 degrees out.  If you are active, you also need to find one that is sweat resistant and won’t run into your eyes.  Because who likes stinging and burning eyes when you are in mile 10 of your half marathon.  If you have skin issues, you also want something good for your skin.  I’ve always been a fan of Neutrogena sunscreen for my face, so I was pleased to find a “sport” version that won’t wreck my skin.

Body Glide – I haven’t experienced any chafage during this training cycle, but I did last summer, so I’m taking no chances on race day.

Fuel – No matter what your preference, you must have your fuel plan for race day figured out.  I use gels and don’t really have a flavor preference.  Here’s what I have on hand for Sunday.  The fuel plan should also include your breakfast.  More than likely I’ll have half a bagel with peanut butter and a banana and coffee to get my system moving along.

Hydration Belt – Not everyone uses one.  Some people rely on the aid stations, but I like to have my fluids handy, plus it has a nice little pouch to hold my gels, ID, car key, money, etc.  I usually like to fill mine with Nuun and if I want water I’ll hit the water stops.  When looking for a hydration belt I went with a Nathan because I have a few of their other products that I like, plus I like the color.  Priorities right?  I’ve contemplated a vest – maybe this summer.

In addition to these “things” I also need to relax.  I’ve done all the hard work.  I need to trust in my training.  I’m actually feeling pretty good this time around.  I, thankfully, had no major setbacks.  A few less than stellar runs, sure, but overall I couldn’t have asked for a better training cycle.  I’m going to take it easy today and tomorrow so that Sunday will just be plain awesome.

Thanks again to the DC Trifecta for another awesome link up!

Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia

Friday Five

 What’s your Race Day essential?  How do you calm your nerves in the days leading up to a big race?  Anything on tap for you this weekend?

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?