Bad Blogger

OK, so first let me apologize for the lack in posting. Secondly, Happy Friday! I’d like to thank the good people at QuickCheck for caffeinating me enough to answer all the emails in my inbox *and* blog before 11:00AM. Nicely done, folks.

ImageThis has basically been me for the last 90 minutes.

I’ve had a good week here, filled with new running gear, jewelry, and more – let’s get right to it!

First, we’ll start with last weekend. On Mother’s Day I participated in a virtual run called Mermaids for Mamas, with my online friends in The Mermaid Club. It was a great day to get some miles in around town, and to take some time to think about all my mother has done for me. To say that she’s my inspiration would be an understatement. Without getting all mushy here, let’s just say that it was a great run that filled me with love and pride in my family 🙂

ImageThat’s my mama and me in the bottom right, at my very first 5K ever!

When I got home I found that Lucy had “surprised” me with a Mother’s Day gift: my very first Alex & Ani bracelet!

ImageShe did need a little help with the online ordering, being a cat and all.

The warm weather over the weekend made me realize that I need to seriously look at what I wear when I run. Yes, capris/tights feel good and cover everything, but when it’s 85 degrees out, I am not all about that heat stroke life. So on Tuesday, I finally bit the bullet and went shopping for some new running shorts.

Being a larger girl for basically 95% of my life, I was never very comfortable in shorts of any kind. Especially when I warm-weather run. Shorts are a necessary evil, but with the typical swishy shorts I always end up with – let’s be honest – a ridiculous frontal wedgie. It’s just not cute. All of my pictures from last month’s half marathon prominently feature my thighs snacking on my shorts, big time. It’s time for a change.

So a few of my Instagram runner friends have been rocking some SUPER cute little fitted shorts, and it got me thinking maybe I should see what the big deal was about. So off to the Nike outlet I went…

Image…and I hit the mother lode!

The tank and swishy shorts were my usual style (who can pass up $10 Nike shorts & tanks?), but I’m more excited about the top right and lower left mini-shorts. SO out of my comfort zone – but so perfect!!

ImageReady to run!

I tried the top right shorts out last night and I’m in love. They are so flattering, and fit like a glove without any muffin top. They still ride up a bit (that’s what happens when thighs collide), but I just feel freer and faster in them. Maybe it’s the placebo effect and I’m really no faster than when I wear my swishy shorts, but I noticed a distinct difference. And also? While we’re on the subject of differences?

ImageHello, new booty!

I’ve been hitting it pretty hard since my half marathon, and I have to say that I’m amazed at the difference I found in these two pics, only taken about 2 weeks apart. I’ve been watching my sugar intake, I added more protein and veggies into my diet, and I’ve squeezed in 50 squats a day (10-20 at a time) since my half – and magically I earned myself a new booty and belly!! Sure, the usual bloating/diet of the day may have had some effect, but when I saw this last night I actually said “Dayum!” aloud, like I was in a Wayans brothers movie.

So tell me – how was your week? Do you have any exciting plans? Is anyone racing? Tell us about it in the comments!

Change Your World

After last night’s post about my favorite running store (and my great experience there last week), I have a quick update to share.

In my time at the store during last week’s party, I got to chatting with the fit expert and her co-worker while I was trying on my magical sneakers. One of the managers caught wind of my story and asked me to share it on camera as part of their “Change Your World” video series.

The store has asked people to share their inspirational running stories with the world in the hopes that our journies might inspire someone else to sign up for that ultra marathon, make the leap into their first 5K, or even lace up to start with. I think it’s a great idea but I can’t lie – going from being the girl that used to say I wouldn’t run unless I was being chased to having a running store manager tell me that my story is inspiring is enough to put stars in my eyes.

So, without further ado, I present to you what happens when you give me free green beer and combine my favorite holiday with my favorite hobby, then put me in front of a camera:

I do wish I’d taken the bobble ears off. But other than that, I regret nothing 😉

Give a girl the right shoes…

…and she can rule the world!

just ask Kelly.

just ask Kelly.

I’m a firm believer in being professionally fitted for sneakers. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t even consider buying running shoes without having a professional help me find just the right kicks for where I am in my training.

Have you ever been to one of these places? I can only speak about my store (Road Runner Sports), but the process is similar everywhere: you meet with an expert who talks to you about your running habits (what are you training for, how many miles do you run a week, pavement or treadmill, paper or plastic, Giants or Jets, etc). They have you run on a treadmill barefoot and film it, then analyze your gait to find you just the right sneaker, all for free.

my papa getting his treadmill time at our last father/daughter fitting

So last week, with the final 5 weeks of my training staring me in the face – and my local store hosting its annual St. Patrick’s Day party! – it was a no brainer that I was heading in for the perfect sneakers to end my training and carry me over the finish of my half marathon at the end of next month!

you know the way to this Irish runner’s heart…

I enjoyed some free green beer in my new “Kiss me I’m a runner” mug while I waited for my turn on the treadmill, and had a good time talking with other runners at the party. I got called up and chatted with my expert about my goals, did my quick filmed jog on the treadmill, and got my “diagnosis”. No big surprises there: I put more weight on my right side to compensate for my left knee and I pronate (my ankles roll out when I run). Also I have SUPER high arches – no lie, at my first fitting the expert called all of his coworkers over to demonstrate how he could slide a pencil between the top & bottom of my foot where my arch completely missed the ground. Which was super confidence-building.

But anyway – it was finally time for my sneaker recommendations! Cue the heavenly music and angels bearing boxes of Sauconys and Nikes as I go into full-on Sex & the City fantasy mode. New Balance, Brooks, Mizuno, Asics, Pearl Izumi – you name it, I tried it on!

Carrie Bradshaw ain’t got nothin’ on me.

This is always my favorite part of the sneaker-buying process: it’s the one time in my life where I truly feel like a celebrity. I sit comfortably and give myself foot rubs and leg massages with the store’s foam roller and sprinter stick while the shoe runner brings out pair after pair of colorful kicks for me to try on. Every time they open up a new box I turn into Cinderella, oohing and aahing over the fun colors and gushing about the different features this shoe offers over the others, just waiting for the perfect fit. I even take a sprint around the store to test out the last 3-4 pairs, finally narrowing it down to my perfect, ultimate pair:

I may love them more than a human child.

I may love them more than a human child.

Brook’s Transcends.

They are *the* best. They cradle my ankle and help my alignment, but give me enough cushioning so that my knees don’t even hurt after 4 hilly miles. I don’t remember runs this smooth even before my knee surgery! I’ve never run in Brooks before, but just under 8 miles into this pair and I can already tell that this is the beginning of a loooong and beautiful relationship.

So tell me about your favorite running shoes! Have you ever been professionally fitted? What’s your perfect pair at the moment? Come on: Let’s get some shoes.

Winter Running Motivation

Here in New Jersey, we are in the throes of a bitch of a winter. There is no nice way to put it – that crotchety old man winter has us over his bony knee and he is spanking the hell out of us, over and over and over again. Now that I’ve put *that* horrible image in your head, please accept this photo of a kitten reading a bedtime story to make up for it.

I can’t promise I won’t do it again though.

I can’t promise I won’t do it again though.

As runners, we know that these polar vortexes and deep freezes just make us more resilient. Mentally and physically, we grow stronger with each slippery step. But at a certain point, even the toughest runner has to throw their hands up in the air and cry uncle.

so much ugh.

so much ugh.

I’m sure there are more seasoned, harder runners that may look at this path and think “HA! You can still see blacktop, that’s nothing! -15 degrees with 20mph wind gusts? Child’s play! 2 inches of fresh fallen snow? Nothing like it. Bring it on!” If that’s you, I tip my hat to you. You’re a tough cookie! I, on the other hand, am more like a wad of unbaked dough with a brand new ACL. My ass is not taking a risk on unstable ground, especially not after a year of rehab and physical therapy to get that new knee back in working order.

I managed to slip and wipe out 3 times in a half a mile on that icy path you see in the picture above before getting so frustrated that I screamed at the top of my lungs, punched a snowdrift, and trudged through another half mile of 8 inch-deep snow back to my car. To say that I hate the winter is an understatement.

But, as a runner, I have to find a way to get those miles in. Much like many of you probably did, I signed up for a spring race to keep me active through these frigid months. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is finding the motivation to do just that.

I’ve explored lots of different motivational tactics. Some are really effective, and others… well, let’s just say sleeping in your workout clothes to get out the door easily for an early morning run just makes it harder to get *out* of bed because the blankets are that much warmer when you’re wearing running shorts.

Here are some of my favorite motivational things to get pumped up for a workout when I’ve got about three pounds of Valentine’s Day chocolate in the cabinet 10 feet away from me, and about 5 inches of perma-frost outside just waiting to slip me up:

1. New gear – sometimes you just have to embrace your inner mallrat and shop for inspiration! Admit it. A run just feels easier when you’re wearing a badass new tank with parrots on it.

parrots.

yes, parrots.

2. Switching it up at the gym – or even joining a gym in the first place! After 4 years of embracing the streets and the living room as my workout spaces, I finally bit the bullet and re-joined a traditional gym this winter, and I couldn’t be happier. Knowing that I can disappear in a warm room filled with every kind of workout equipment known to man for as long as I want – there’s nothing like it.

3. New music – When those long runs are breathing down my neck (these days, mostly on the treadmill too), I take to Facebook or Google to find a batch of 5-10 new songs to mix up my running playlist. This recent find turned out to be an awesome middle-of-the-run “get it done” song that I find myself replaying over and over again:

4. Involving a friend – This one is my favorite! A month or two ago, I started going to our local Lululemon for free yoga classes on weekend mornings, and now I’m going with two other friends and having a blast! Knowing that one friend has been up since 4am taking care of her sick 4-year old and doing an Insanity workout before yoga? Yeah, I’ll do my damnedest to drag my hungover ass out of bed and meet her there. That’s motivation.

These are just a few of my favorite motivational tactics through these cold winter months. Do you have any other go-to’s? Instagram feeds, inspirational quotes, etc? Share the love in the comments!

Treat Yourself Day

It’s Valentine’s Day (yay?), and instead of doing the usual post about how you need to go love everyone around you and blah blah blah, I’m here to tell you that today you should love yourself.

Yeah, it’s good to love everyone around you – significant others, friends, family, nice people in traffic, etc. Don’t *not* love them today. But in the midst of all the love-giving, don’t forget about yourself. Take some time today to really think about your journey up to this point. You’ve come a long way, baby!

fatboy slim

Yeah, well, it was either this or an old Virginia Slims ad.

Maybe you’re working towards a big promotion. Or perhaps you’ve tried a dozen times to learn how to knit and you refuse to give up as you slowly drown in a mountain of half-finished knitting projects. Or maybe you’ve beaten cancer? Run an ultra marathon? Made it to level 30 on Flappy Bird? The point is, wherever you’re at now, you’ve worked for it. And while some days you may not feel like a winner, today is the day to realize that you actually have a lot going for you!

Image

So, on this day of love and hearts and warm fuzzies, I say – treat yourself. Take 10 minutes to go all Stuart Smalley in your bathroom mirror before bed tonight. Go get a pedicure. Pet a kitten. Or, do what I did, and splurge on that ridiculously obnoxious pair of Lululemon running shorts you’ve been stalking for 2 weeks that are finally in stock in your size.

tracker shorts

Of course if they gave me those legs I would have bought them 2 weeks ago.

So go ahead – treat yo self! And be sure to share in the comments how it goes. Unless treating yo self involves something NSFW, in which case, get down with your bad self and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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