Friday, September 30, 2011

Tune-Up Time

My new “Runner’s World” magazine came in the mail, and like always, I was very eager to read it.  I found one article especially interesting and I wanted to share it with you.  When I was just starting out on my running journey, I got the advice that I should enter a few local practice races—to get the feel of racing and fine tune things like pace, nutrition, and hydration. So far, I have done a few 5k’s, a 7 miler and a 10 miler.  I found these experiences very helpful in my journey.   I know have a feel for how races are run, what nutrition works best for me, and how much water in need. 
As I am about to start my formal training plan for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I have been looking into finding local races that will fit into my training plans as long runs.  A will admit, long run days are not my favorite because the long run can become tedious and boring.  Turning my long run into a race, keeps it exciting while still getting my training time in.  So far, I have a 5k, a 5 miler and a 15k all schedule in place of my usual long run.  Check out my races on the right.
Have you ever used this plan?  Do you have any local races planned as practice races?  Do you recommend any to me in the Maryland/Southern Pennsylvania area? 
A dream is a wish…
Here is a link to the article

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Workout Plan Tweak

This past week I have been thinking about how I can tweak my workouts to get more results—both losing weight and improving my running.  I have been doing a lot of reading online and keep coming back to the same thing—strength training.
 I figure I have a few options.  First, my gym (Strictly Fitness in York, PA) has body pump classes.  This would be a great option, but the classes are at 5:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  My husband is not home from work yet at this time so this option will not work.  I could also hire a personal trainer, but this option is pricy.  I could also do videos at home.  Since I am a Beach Body Coach, I am thinking about giving ChaLEAN Extreme a try.  Have you tried it?  What did you think?
I have also been thinking about changing my weekly routine.  I usually hit a spin class on Monday and Wednesday morning, and then running on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  My runs lately have been 5k treadmill runs.  This is getting boring!  The official half marathon training plan does not start for a few weeks yet, but I am ready for something new.   My “hike” workouts have been going great though.  It was so hard at first, but it is getting easier.  I guess that means I am improving!  My new plan for runs is do the hike workout for the first mile, then run two more miles.  I also plan to research new outdoor running options in my area. 
What do you do to keep your workouts fresh? 
A dream is a wish…
***More great giveaways are coming soon!  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Heart Rate While Running

While I was getting ready to head to the gym last night, I saw my girl Lauren Graham on E! News.   She was talking about how using a heart rate monitor helped her so much in losing those last couple of pounds. She said that she works at 65% to 85% of her maximum heart rate.  That got me thinking, what heart rate zone do I work in?  Should I even care?
I really liked my treadmill hike from the other night, so I decided to do that one again.  First, I ran/walked a mile.  I held on to the heart rate monitor on the treadmill right after my first mile.  I was at a heart rate of 172.  Then I started my hike.  The super inclines must really be a lot of work (that explains the sweat buckets) because the highest heart rate I hit was 176.  After the hike, I did another mile of run/walking and checked my heart rate again.  This time it was 173.  All of this was cool to know, but did not mean much to me…yet.
I got home and started Googleing heart rates.  I learned that my maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute (220-30(age)).   According to what I read, I was working at about 90% of my MHR.  I also found that working up to 90% of your MHR will help you reach optimal conditioning.  This was all really good information to know.  I plan to track my heart rate the next few times I work out and see what results I get. 
Do you track your heart rate?  Do you work toward a certain heart rate goal?  Do you think a target heart rate is helpful in weight loss or athletic training?
Now, on to my SparkleSkirts!  giveaway!  The winner is Kristen Ceneviva.  Please email me ( with your shipping address and what SparkleSkirts!  you would like, including size.  Thank you to everyone who entered.  Please stay tuned—I have some more great giveaways lined up for the next few weeks!
A dream is a wish…

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Treadmill Hike

Flipping through Self Magazine the other day, I found a section titled “Lose 8 pounds”.   The article gave diet and workouts to help the readers lose weight.  One of the workouts I found very interesting.  It is called a Treadmill Hike.  Basically, the workout is 20 minutes on the treadmill with varying inclines between three percent and twelve percent.  I have been doing research a lot lately on increasing my walking speed.  I read that walking inclines/hills can help to increase walking speed, so I decided to give this work out a try.  I tore the page out of my magazine, and I headed to the gym. 
The workout calls for the reader to walk at a speed of 3.5 on the treadmill for 20 minutes.  Walking at this speed, the work out would take me just over a mile.  Since I try to run 5k (3.1 miles) on Tuesday and Thursday nights, my plan was to run a mile on the treadmill, then start this routine, then run about another mile, or whatever would take me to 5k.  I got to the gym and jumped on a treadmill.  My favorite treadmill was taken, but that’s ok.
I started running with my Galloway intervals and I hit the one mile mark right around twelve minutes.  I then started the treadmill hike.  Wow!  It was really hard!  I could handle the inclines of three to six fairly easily, but when I was on an incline of seven to twelve, I was really struggling.  I had to hold on just to stay on the treadmill at inclines of eight to twelve.  I was sweating buckets, more than I do when running.  How hard this workout was really surprised me.  I thought--20 minutes, twelve percent…sounds easy, right?  Boy was I wrong.  It was real work!  Once I was done the 20 minutes, I walked two more minutes at zero incline to catch my breath.  I started to run again but I was really tired, huffing and puffing.  I walked another minute or so till I hit the 2.5 mile mark and my workout was over. 
Now I see why the trainer who designed this plan only called for a twenty minute workout.  I think I will go with my above plan once a week—during my easy run nights.  I will not push myself to far beyond what I did last night, hopefully just a little improvement each week.  I do not want to give up a night of running, but I really like how challenging this plan was.  I short run before and after fit well.  I hope this plan increases my walking speed and my fitness level.
A dream is a wish…
Here is a link to the article if you are interested.
***Blogorama ends at midnight on September 22!  Don’t forget to enter! 
I have more great giveaways coming in the next few weeks!  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

9/11--Baltimore Run to Remember

This past Sunday, I ran in my second official 5k, the 9/11 Run to Remember.  I did the run with my two sisters, Katie and Samantha.  It was an early morning, with a six am wake up call.  I did my normal race routine of coffee, McDonalds Egg McMuffin, and Cliff Bloks.  My sisters and I hit the highway around 6:30 am and got to Baltimore around 7:30. 
Once we parked and walked out of the garage, we got our first glimpse of the festivities.  The Baltimore Fire Department and Police Depart did an excellent job remembering their fallen brothers and sister.  At the start of the race, there were two fire trucks with their ladders raised to meet each other.  The flags flow an American flag.  The announcers told the 9/11 story and recognized all fireman, policeman and military present.  Then a local singer sang the National Anthem.  Being the day it was, half the crowd was crying by the time the song was over.  Then it was time to race! 
It was a great feeling to cross the starting line, running under the crossed ladder and American flag.  The race organizers planned a great course.  We started in front of the Baltimore City hall and police headquarters.  We ran down Lafayette Street, made two right turns, and then ran all the way around Baltimore’s beautiful inner harbor.  I ran the whole first mile.  I set my RunKeeper to 1/1 intervals to complete the race.  By the time we hit the 1.5 mile mark, we were past the inner harbor and had a straightaway down Key Highway.  Once we turned onto Fort Street, we had to run up the steepest hill I had ever run up.  Good thing this was my walk minute!  We made a few more turns and had another hill to run up and I was there!  The finish line at Federal Hill Park!  I ran over the finish line and checked the time clock. 
The clock time said just over forty minutes.  I knew then that I had beaten the time of my first 5k!  I graded a water and a banana, meet up with my sisters and waited for our official chip times to be posted.  My official chip time was 38:40.  According to my Runkeeper, I ran 3.29 miles, at 11:40 per mile.  During my first 5k, the Baltimore Women’s Classic, my time was 41:44.  I beat my time by over three minutes. Even though this was my forth race, the feeling of crossing a finish line never gets old!  It makes all the training worth it. 
This was a great race to be a part of.  The weather was perfect, at about 75 degrees.  There were firemen running the race is full gear.  The Baltimore City Police Department had new their new recruits running the race, chanting all the way.  At each twist and turn on the course, there were police and firemen cheering on the runners. The firemen had the trucks out with lights and sirens on.  I made sure to thank as many of them as I could. 
The finish line party had a Baltimore classic—Natty Boh beer.  They also had Panera Bread bagels, Utz chips and some great music.  My sisters and I took the opportunity to take some great pictures with the Baltimore Inner Harbor as our backdrop and we headed back on the long walk back to my car.  On the way back, we walked past the Baltimore World Trade Center.  They were dedicating the Baltimore World Trade Center 9/11 memorial, with a large piece of steel from the twin towers.  It was very nice to see.  I am honored to be a part of such a great race for a great reason. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Blogorama Bonanza Giveaway!

This week I have the pleasure to tell you about my new favorite running product—SparkleSkirts!  The entrepreneur and Sparkle Queen, Leah Powell, is someone I am lucky enough to call a friend.  SparkleSkirts are her passion.  This passion can be felt when you look at the running/walking skirts she makes, right here in the USA. 
What do I love about my SparkleSkirt?  Everything!  First off, SparkleSkirts are made for all body types.  Leah makes her skirts from a size XS to 4X.  As a curvy girl, every other running skirt I have ever tried on has been to short on me.  This skirt length is perfect.  It covers all it needs to cover, but does not make me look Amish.  For all of us with a “mom pooch”, SparkleSkirt can help.  The skirt is constructed out of a stretchy, but firm fabric that holds it in.  The skirt has a wide band around the waist that is very slimming.  SparkleSkirts are reversible to ensure a great fit for everyone.  I choose to wear my SparkleSkirt with the zippered pouch in the back as I feel like the skirt fits me better that way.  Some choose to wear the zippered pouch in the front.  You can choose to wear yours the way it works best for you.
Another thing I really like about my SparkleSkirt is all the storage.  The waist band has a 12 inch zippered pocket to stash you stuff.  The legs also each have a built in pocket.  Leah is a big fan of GU gels, so she made the pockets of her skirts to fit a few gels in them.  Since I am an iPhone girl, I measure everything based on if my phone will fit.  I am happy to report that all three pockets of my SparkleSkirt easily fit my iPhone.  Since I like to care lots of essentials on my long runs, I have my SparkleSkirt loaded up.  I had my iPhone in my waist pack, a GU and my inhaler in one pocket and my Vera Bradley coin purse/ID holder in the other.  Since the skirt flares slightly, my pockets were camouflaged.  No one could tell that I had them loaded up.  All of the storage options made it so I did not need to strap on my SPIbelt.  The pockets everything I put in them in place and did not have any bounce.  I did not even know anything was in there.
In my opinion, the most genius aspect of the SparkleSkirt SparkleTech is the shorts.   The SparkleShirts SparkleTech has legs built in. Leah promises that the legs do no ride up—and she actually delivers on the promise.  I have tried so many skorts in my life, shorts with legs built it, and the legs have always ridden up on me.  This is not fun anytime, but it’s especially not fun during a run.  SparkleTech SparkleSkirts have a special designed leg that has an inner thigh band.  This band prevents the leg for budging while running.  It actually worked for me!  I do not wear shorts in general because they always ride up on me.  Leah offers SparkleBottoms too, shorts made just like the skirt legs.  I plan to try them soon.
To make sure I could give you the most thorough and honest review, I have worn my SparkleSkirt a lot this week.  This product is for sure my favorite that I have reviewed on my blog!  I wore it to a spin class, on a short treadmill run at the gym and on a long run outside.  I love it!  The legs did not budge once on me, not even when getting in or out of the car.  I love the fit and the length. It covers all the "junk in the trunk" perfectly. I really love how the skirt looks on me.  It would not fit me better if it was made specifically for me.  The skirt draped nicely when I was on the spin bike.  On the tread mill at the gym, I could see in the mirror how the skirt swayed as I ran—very cute.  I love the color SparkleSkirt Leah designed especially for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  As you can see from the pictures, this shirt is the perfect princess pink!  Next, I am going to order a solid black SparkleTech SparkleSkirt for everyday use. 
Leah and I are so proud of her great products and we know you will love them too. We want one of you to try a SparkleTech SparkleSkirt for FREE!  That’s right—it’s giveaway time!!!  For this giveaway, I will be using a new application called Rafflecopter for you all to enter the giveaway.  This giveaway is part of Blogorama 2011.  If you look right under this post, you will see a list of over 100 blogs, all hosting giveaways this week with a value of over $75!  !  To enter the giveaway, you must be a follower of this blog. Here are the ways to enter the giveaway:
1)   Go to the SparkleSkirt website; check it out and comment below about which SparkleSkirt you like best.  Also, include what you like best and least about SparkleSkirts.  Leah appreciates your feedback. 

2)      Like SparkleSkirts  (one word on Facebook and Google search)on Facebook.

3)   Share this page with your Facebook and/or Twitter friends.  (To do this, click to the right where is says “Share this on Facebook” or “Tweet this”.)
Each blog follower can enter the giveaway multiply times (check out the website and comment below, like on FB, share this page on FB and Twitter—earning one entry each day you share.  ONLY entries done with Rafflecopter can be counted.  You can enter until from midnight Eastern time on September 12th until 11:59 PM September 22nd 2011. Then I will choose a winner!  Check for a new blog post that evening to see who the winner is!  SparkleSkirts will send the winner their favorite SparkleTech SparkleSkirt, and I will add a GU sampler pack to meet the $75 requirement!  Good Luck everyone! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Same Shoes?

My beloved Asics GT-2150 running shoes have been discontinued!  What to do, what to do?
About a week ago, I decided I would drive around my town and buy up all the size nine 2150’s I could find.  My first stop was Kohl’s.  I really love Kohl’s because if you have one of their credit cards, they send you coupons all the time.  I had a 30% off coupon.  I walked directly to the shoe department—and there they were!  My 2150’s!  They had one size nine—on clearance!  With my coupon, I paid forty two bucks for them!  Score!!!
My next stop was our local running store.  I walked in and was immediately greeted by a nice sales woman.  I told her I was looking for Asics GT-2150.  She told me they had been discontinued and to try the 2160’s.  I explained to her I was not interested in the new ones and asked if she had any 2150’s in stock still.  She went to look and came back with a pair!  She opened the box and there they were—the exact same shoes I just bought at Kohl’s—accept the prices.  These shoes were 80 dollars.  I told her I just got a pair at Kohl’s for half that and ask if she could give me a better price.  The sales woman then told me that the shoes I got at Kohl’s might look the same and have the same name as the ones she was holding, but there are not the same shoes.  She explained that shoe companies make different models of shoes for different stores, even though the shoes look the same and have the same name.  I questioned her as to the specifics, but she would not tell me anymore. I decided against paying full price for the shoes, thanked the sales lady, and left the store. 
This has been bothering me all week.  Is it true what she told me?  Do big shoe companies make different shoes for different stores that carry the same name and same look?  If so, what are the differences?  What has been your experience with this? 
A dream is a wish…
***Blogorama starts in just a few days!  My best giveaway ever!  Stay tuned! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Road ID

If you are anything like me, you worry all the time.  When I run, I used to stuff my SPIbelt with my phone, keys and my Vera Bradley wristlet, because I did not want to be without my ID in case of an accident.  Anything can happen when we are out running—vehicle accidents and falls just to name a few.  If I did not carry all that stuff in my SPI, how would emergency help know who I was if I was hurt and could not speak for myself.  These things scared me a lot, until I got my Road ID. 
According to their website, Road ID is a durable, rugged, athletic, fashionable line of identification gear. Road ID was created on the concept that active people should wear ID as part of their gear when participating in outdoor activities. It was started by a couple of guys who began to wonder "why in the heck don't we have ID on us when we go out for a run or a ride.  If we had an unexpected accident, while running or cycling, we would be in bad shape - nobody would know who we were or who to contact. That freaked us out."
It freaks me out too.  I have a lot of responsibilities at home, with an 8 year old son and 2 year old special needs daughter.  If something were to happen to me, I want my husband and my mom to know right away.  Knowing who I am makes it possible for my family to make the best possible medical decisions and get me better, quicker.  Getting a Road ID was a no brainer for me.  When I did my 10 miler on the Rail Trail a few weeks ago, I wore my Road ID.  Not only did I feel safer knowing that if I was hurt, emergency personal would know who I am, I know my family would know where I was too. 
The Road ID bracelet I chose is the Road ID Wrist ID Sport…in pink, of course!  I put my basic information on it—my name, my address and birthday, along with my husband and mom’s cell phone numbers.  The Road ID bracelet was comfortable to wear during my long run.  What made the run even more comfortable is that my SPI was not so packed!  I left my Vera wristlet in the car because I had my Road ID on. 
Road ID wants all of my reader to be safe when they run.  If you like what you see and want to order one of your own, use coupon code:  ThanksAmy8727236.  This code will get you $1 off any Road ID order.  Don’t wait, its only good until 9/20/2011 or until it is used 20 times. 
A dream is a wish…
***Blogorama starts in less than a week!  I have my best and most valuable giveaway ever!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Don’t Compare Your Times to Other Runners—Only Yourself

In my ten mile race this past weekend, I was not last…but very close to it!  While no one ever wants to be last, I have to keep reminding myself that I am not racing everyone else, I am racing myself!  I am racing the old me…and the new me is winning. 
When I start to feel insecure about my times—I look at where I started and where I am now.  When I first started, I could run only a few minutes of my 2 mile runs.  These two mile runs were hard work for me and it took me over thirty minutes.  I would average about 16 minutes a mile.  Now, I can run an 11 minute mile.  My “easy” run days are 3 milers and I can finish in about 35 minutes.  While 35 minutes for a three mile run may be terrible for some, for me it’s awesome! 
I have been thinking a lot about my 9/11 Run to Remember 5k coming up.  My sisters and a few friends will be doing it also.  My goal is not to beat any of them, but to beat my time from my June 5k.  I did the Baltimore Women’s Classic on June 26th and came in at 41:44.  I have done lots of 5k practice runs since then, coming in at around 36-38 minutes.  So, that is what my goal will be:  to finish the 5k in less than 38 minutes.  If I achieve my goal, I will cut my 5k PR by almost 4 minutes.  Not bad for less than three months of a time difference. 
Do you compare yourself to other runners?  Do you find it helps or hurts you?  How to you make yourself stop?
A dream is a wish…
***Blogorama starts next week!  I have an AMAZING prize for you to win!  It is by far my favorite giveaway to date and from a company I really believe in.  I can’t wait for you all to see it! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Running Body Image

You all know I just did my big 10 miler this past weekend.  While trying to recruit friends to run it with me, one of my friends told me she “is to fat to run with all those skinny, in shape people.  That statement made me really sad and I began to think—I hope this does not hold a lot of other runners back from entering events. 
While saying that, I can understand the feeling.  When I first joined my gym, Strictly Fitness, I felt very out of place.  I would look around and see the skinny girls trotting away on the treadmills and ellipticals and see the buff guys on the weight machines.  I felt very out of place!  Once I went a few times I started to feel more comfortable.  No one there cared how out of shape I was or how over weight I was—they cared about getting their own workouts in.  The people I have met at the gym are always encouraging and congratulating me on my successes. 
The same thing goes for the races I have entered.  Runners, as a group, are usually very supportive of each other.  For example, in my 10 miler on Saturday, I was in the very back of the pack.  I was not last…but close to it.  Even though I am not as fast as them, there were lots of other runners cheering me on at the finish line.  The same goes for my very first race ever, the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  They made the last person who crossed the finish line feel just as great as the first. 
I still have my insecure moments, but running gives me a really positive body image.  For one thing, I have seen some positive changes in my body.  I have lost some weight, but I can also see where I have added muscle, especially in my quads.  When I am having a particularly insecure moment, I think of what my body can do.  I can run 10 miles too, just like the skinnies.  My 10 miles may not be as fast as them, but what matters is that I can do it!  
There is always going to be someone skinnier and faster.  I try hard not to compare myself to other runners.  I try not to compare my body to them.  I do compare myself now to myself in the past.  That is what running is all about for me—not beating other people—but betting myself! 
How has running affected your body image?  Do you hold yourself back by insecure thoughts?  How do you overcome them? 
A dream is a wish…

You all know how much I love Clif and Luna.  Here is a link to a cool (free) program they have, and they will send you free samples!