Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 34



Happy Friday!

How many of you guys sit at a desk for most of your day? I know there are days when I feel like I haven’t moved. That’s not good, you know?

While I try to always head out during lunch be it for a workout, errands, or just to run home since it’s so close, it never feels like enough. I’ve started to be more conscious of how long I’m sitting.  Ideally I’d get up and move once an hour, but sometimes I just plain forget. Regardless, when I do remember I get up and try to either go for a short walk around the floor or building, or I do some quick exercises like squats, calf raises, pushups against my desk and lunges.

This conscious desire to move more inspired me to look for an office workout I could share in my weekly “Pinspire Me Friday” post. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I started searching Pinterest. A lot of the “office workouts” that popped up didn’t require you to actually get out of your chair. I think we’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking. Why would we want to do a workout that keeps our butts in our chairs?

After a bit of scrolling I came across the above workout from Nicole over at Pumps & Iron. It was exactly what I was looking for in terms of an office workout. The best part is you don’t have to be in workout gear to get it done, although the squats might be a bit tough in a pencil skirt ;) I do love her workout gear though!

Thankfully I have my own office, but I know that’s not the case for a lot of people. Cubicles aren’t exactly private. In that case, maybe consider modifying the exercises to something that will work better in your small and less private space, or step away from your desk, maybe head outside or to the break room at off-peak times. Even if someone sees you, maybe you’ll inspire them to get more movement into their day too!

Do you try to get in mini workouts during your day at work? What are some of your favorite moves that could be done at work?


#RaceRecap: Garden Spot Village Half Marathon

All done!

All done!

Another great race weekend in the books! On Saturday I ran the Garden Spot Village Half Marathon with my friend Ivy. It was in New Holland, Pa.

We headed down Friday after work and pulled into the parking lot right at 8 p.m. Packet pickup was set to close at 8 p.m. but we decided to try anyway. They must not get a lot of late arrivers because they had already packed up. One of the women was very kind and gathered our numbers, shirts and bags for us anyway.

Afterwards we headed to the hotel to check in before going to find food. When Ivy asked the front desk attendant if she could recommend a place to eat her response was, “Well it’s after the 8 o’clock hour.” Ivy was like, “Yeah, so?” I guess that’s late in some of these small family farming communities. Thankfully there were a couple places and off we went to dinner. After we headed to bed since it would be an early morning. Thankfully, the hotel was just 5 minutes from Garden Spot Village, a retirement community that plays host to the race, so it wasn’t as early as some other race mornings tend to be.

The race benefits Garden Spot Village’s benevolent fund, which helps individuals who, for some reason or another, are no longer able to pay for their care and allows them to continue to be able to call Garden Spot Village their home. A lot of the residents of the community serve as race volunteers as parking attendants, food servers, cheerleaders and finish area attendants who hand you your medal, hat, water and foil blanket.

On Saturday morning after arriving, we sat in the car for awhile. It wasn’t that cold out but the wind was rather strong making it feel quite chilly. This race is the sister race to the Bird-in-Hand Half in the fall. Many Amish, Mennonites and Brethren run in it as well. I think it’s so cool that there’s a thriving Amish running community. While waiting we saw one of the marathon pacers arrive who was Amish. He had a 3:25 marathon pace sign. So impressive to be that fast while holding a pace sign too!

After heading over to the start line, Ivy and I decided to stick near the 2 hour pacer for the half to start. Since it’s a smaller race, they don’t start in waves but it was chip timing so your time was as accurate as possible. I didn’t stick with the pacer long and just ran on how I felt.

The course, which is USATF certified and can be used as a Boston Qualifier, ran along country roads outside Lancaster. It was hilly, but nothing impossibly hard. The scenery was stunning and it was such a clear day you could see for miles. The roads were closed initially, but even the sections that were reopened really didn’t have any traffic except course officials.

Here's a look at the elevation for the course.

Here’s a look at the elevation for the course.

What I thought was the toughest hill of the course began shortly after the turnaround at mile 7. At that point the marathoners continue on, while we headed back the way we came until about mile 10.5 where we turned off. As you can see on the elevation profile, there’s a nice quick and steep incline beginning at mile 8. It was nice that there were tons of people at the top of the steepest portion cheering you on. I might not have been moving too fast up the steep section, but I definitely didn’t want to walk with everyone cheering.

After that it continued to climb but at what felt like a more gradual rate. It was then followed by a nice long downhill almost the entire way to the finish line. The last couple miles were flat and wide open between farm fields. The wind was very tough along that stretch, but when you’re that close to the finish line you just keep going.

After turning into the Garden Spot Village community, I caught up to a running couple that was arguing. The guy was mad that his wife or girlfriend was ahead of him and so she stopped and then he yelled at her for stopping. She was yelling at him to get moving since they were so close to the finish line and to stop arguing with her. It was really immature and they were dropping the F-word repeatedly. I was definitely glad to pass them.

I finished with a personal best time of 1:52:34, a little more than a minute faster than my previous best. The volunteers at the finish line were very sweet. After Ivy finished we got some pictures and headed into the food tent. They had chocolate milk, trail mix, bananas and oranges, cheese omelets, pretzels, soup and sandwiches. It was quite the spread. It was also nice because the tent was heated!

Gotta love the foil blankets. They were definitely necessary with the wind.

Gotta love the foil blankets. They were definitely necessary with the wind.

An added bonus we didn’t take advantage of was use of the community’s wellness center. They had changing rooms, showers, and more. We just ended up changing in the car and hitting the road, but next time I’d probably take advantage of the changing area as opposed to using my backseat.

Overall it was a great race! I’d definitely do it again. It was so well organized and everyone was so nice. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a spring half or full.

I now have less than two weeks until Gettysburg. I’m nervous but excited. I just have short runs to get in between now and then. Looking forward to the recap!

Did you run over the weekend?

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 33

PC: Women's Running

PC: Women’s Running

Do you use an app to track your runs? I do occasionally, such as when I’ve mapped out a course for a long run and won’t remember it or if I want to be really precise about my training time. A lot of people track their runs. There are so many apps out there like MapMyRun, Nike+, Runtastic and more.

Have you ever thought about using or have used an app for running safety? I have considered it but have never done it. I live in a relatively safe area where lots of people are out running regardless of the time of year. I’d probably be more apt to use one if I lived in a different area or ran mostly on my own. I’m thankful for often having running friends with me.

I recently saw a post on the Women’s Running Facebook page about running apps to keep you safe. The two they featured, which are pictured above, are Glympse and RunSafe. Glympse is free, while RunSafe offers both a free and subscription based service. You can learn more about each of these apps from Women’s Running.

While we’re on the topic of safety and runnings apps, RoadID also has a free app that offers similar features as the ones above. I also highly recommend getting a RoadID for yourself, family members and even your pet. I’ve had mine for over a year and just purchased four new bands just to change up the color once in awhile. I never take mine off. If you need even the least bit of convincing, just read the testimonials.

On that note, I’m off to the Lancaster area for the night for the Garden Spot Village Half Marathon. It’s supposed to be a beautiful day to run on Saturday. I’ll be back with a recap of the race next week.

Do you use any specific running (or cycling, walking, swimming, etc) apps to track your runs and/or keep you safe? 

#Recap: 20-miler


I wrapped up the bulk of my marathon training on Monday with my 20-miler. I was nervous going into it, but tried to plan accordingly and just listen to my body as I went. I have to say it worked out well!

It seems the winter weather has finally left and we’ve had a couple nice springlike days the past two weeks. Saturday-Monday were a few of those days, sunny with highs in the 60s. Due to traveling for the Easter holiday, I postponed my 20-miler to Monday.

I didn’t sleep well Sunday night. My kitten was very excited I was home, and after probably sleeping for most of the time I was away he was ready to play all night long. I didn’t have much food in the house, but settled on some Van’s Whole Grain waffles with some pb on them as pre-run fuel.

I started at 10 a.m. The temperature was a cool 35, but with the sun out I warmed quickly. I opted to wear my hydration belt rather than drive around planting water in various spots around town. I also wore my Spibelt to carry my phone as I had mapped out my course using the MapMyRun app. Despite my best efforts  the hydration belt won’t sit on my hips. It rides up to my waist so I just learned to put it there and it really doesn’t move. The only issue with it is that the pocket on it isn’t very big, just large enough for some gels or other fuel. My Spibelt is adjustable and sits wherever I put it. It doesn’t ride up or down and you couldn’t even tell I had it on despite my relatively large phone stuffed in it.

I started off on my own, but met a friend less than 2 miles in at one of the parks off the bike path. We continued on and met another friend, who was fresh off the Charlottesville Half, another 1.5 miles down the path. They kept me company for about 5-6 miles and then I was on my own for the rest. They definitely made those early miles fly by!

I decided to try something new with my fueling. In the past it’s always been really spread out, but I decided to try putting things closer together and see if that sat well with my stomach and kept me from getting too hungry or thirsty. I ended up eating gels at miles 6 and 12 and just drank as needed. I thought about another gel at mile 18, but since I was so close to home I decided to push through. During the actual race I will definitely have at least one or two more.

I did stop at a local restaurant to refill my water, which was around mile 15. I’d already drank three of the four 6 oz bottles. It wasn’t warm out, but the air was very dry and there was a nice wind. There was also a controlled burn going on outside of town and the smoke was blowing in to this part of town so that wasn’t the most pleasant thing.

During my run I only checked the app on my phone twice, just to make sure I was still on the course I mapped out. I never stopped it at stoplights or when I stopped to refill my water. Part of it was it was just easier to let it stay in the pocket, but also because you don’t get to stop your chip during a race. I was curious about my actual time.

I finished 20.5 miles in 3:31 with an average pace of 10:19. When looking at my splits, I hovered around a 10 minute pace with a few exceptions, such as when I got stuck at a stoplight for two cycles around mile 9, when I stopped to refill my water bottles around mile 15, and when I stopped for some free lemonade from two kids at their lemonade stand around mile 19. They were really cute!

I also stopped briefly at another point relatively early on because there was a duck couple that looked like they wanted to cross the street. I ran by them but turned around to see the female walking out in front of an SUV. I stopped  and thankfully so did the SUV. Once she was out of the way the SUV continued but another car was coming from the opposite direction. He stopped as well and laughingly waved the ducks across. Once they were safely on the grass I continued on my way.

Overall I felt pretty good throughout the entire run. I had two steep downhills during mile 19 that were difficult on my knees. I’m pretty sure I looked hilarious coming down those hills. I also mapped my course to leave me with about a 1/2 mile walk back to my house. I used that as a cool down and then spent some time stretching.

I’m hoping for a repeat performance with an additional six miles in a few weeks at Gettysburg. I’m sure the course will have its fair share of hills, but I’ve trained for that so hopefully it’ll be just fine. Now it’s time to taper!

I’m looking forward to my half this weekend. It’s supposed to be a nice course and currently the weather is looking quite perfect!

Are you training for anything?

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 32



So Wednesday, on a whim, I decided to jump on the FitFluential Clean Eating Challenge for the month of April. I came across the challenge on several social media platforms and decided to pin it, Instagram it and blog about it.

I chose to jump on this because I’m having a hard time eating right. I did so well in January and February and saw some good results in my body, my energy level, and my overall strength and fitness due to the workouts I was and am still doing.

What I like is they made the challenge simple. Everyone has a different idea of what it means to eat clean. The goal is to focus on eating clean, whole foods that aren’t overly processed for the next 30 days. If you have a cheat day, that’s fine. Bottom line is to find what works for you and sustain those positive changes.

It’s definitely not to late to join in. Share the graphic above on social media and keep in touch on those platforms using #FFSpringClean and #FFCheckin.

I’m looking forward to the next 30 days and beyond of healthy habits!

#Review: Dessange #VoxBox


I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago I received my latest Influenster VoxBox with Dessange Paris hair products. I was excited to have been chosen to participate and was looking forward to sharing a review!

20150307_165617I love trying new hair products and am always looking for one that will work well with my naturally curly hair that I wear a variety of ways, from curly to straight to pulled back. I like products that moisturize since curly hair doesn’t always let the natural oils make it down the hair shaft. At the same time, I don’t want to weigh my hair down. It can be a tough balance to find.

Anyway, I dove in to trying these Dessange Oleo Miracle products. Overall I like the products. They smelled nice, didn’t weigh my hair down or make it look oily. The conditioner was nice and thick, almost like a masque, which I really liked, but it was a tad hard to get it out of the bottle sometimes. Maybe a tub would be better? I also wish companies would give you more conditioner than shampoo. I always feel like I go through it faster than shampoo. With the replenishing oil, a little goes a long way so it’s something that will last a long time.

I think I would buy the products if they were on sale. I tend to buy shampoos and conditioners in the $5-7 range (these I believe run $10-12), but once in awhile splurge on salon products or a more expensive brand like Clairol Hair Food. It all depends. I have really hard water so in addition to my curly hair, I’m battling that, too, in terms of finding products that will do their job continuously.

Would I recommend Dessange Paris products to others? Sure. Ultimately I think it’s important to find what works best for you, your hair type and the type of styling you do. I think these are nice products that will work for a lot of users.

I’ll be back Friday with another Pinspire Me Friday post, and then a recap next week of my last long run before tapering begins for my marathon.

What are your favorite hair products?


#RaceRecap: Mile Run Trail Challenge


Is it spring yet? I thought it was supposed to be anyway. No such luck!

On Saturday I tackled my first trail race in almost two years. I’d been toying with signing up for the Mile Run Trail Challenge earlier this year and decided to go for it while I was still down in Costa Rica. Maybe I was inspired by my surroundings. Who knows?

I signed up on my own and figured I’d go out and just try to enjoy it. It ended up that several people from Ki’netik also signed up so I was happy there’d be some familiar faces there for this adventure.

And an adventure it was. From the time I left my house to the end of the race.

When I initially Google-mapped Mile Run, it told me it’d be a 45 minute drive. Easy enough! I got up pretty early Saturday thanks to Frasier and decided to check the timing again. Thankfully I did because Google said it would now take two hours. The route was red in spots meaning slow or stopped traffic. Despite the race not starting until 10, I was out the door minutes later at 7:30.

After hopping on the highway suddenly snow appeared on the side of the road. Odd since the chance of snow had been very small. However, the weather is always weird up along this highway so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Eventually I saw one of those digital signs with a message about the highway being closed in what amounted to be about a 30-mile stretch. There’d been a multi vehicle accident due to the snow squall.

I took the detour as suggested, but I knew it would take forever so I started trying to find an alternative. The app on my phone was sort of helpful, but it just wanted me to get back on the highway. Obviously that wasn’t an option so I took to reading the map like we did in the “old days.” I soon found another option. It meant traveling on snow covered roads, but at least I wasn’t going insanely far out of the way. I ended up coming in on a road suggested via Facebook by other runners. It made for quite the bumpy entrance as it was a rutted old forestry road that also wasn’t plowed. Really love having my Jeep at times like these!

After parking and picking up my number and hoodie, I sat in the car debating what to wear. It was only 20 degrees and still snowing. I was thankful I’d at least had the sense to wear my tights, but I only had two layers meant for slightly warmer weather. I knew once I was moving I wouldn’t be cold, but I wasn’t sure how often I’d be hiking vs. running and was worried about getting cold during those times. Once a few gym friends arrived, one of them offered me an Under Armour long sleeve so I ended up with that, a long sleeve dry fit and a jacket, a combo which proved to be perfect.

The race organizers ended up postponing the race about 30 minutes to let more people arrive. It was a sold out race of 450, and 400 made it to the start. The highway also reopened right before we started so at least we’d have an easier trek back home.

Here's a look at the course. You can see some of the topography.

Here’s a look at the course. You can see some of the topography.

Here's the elevation chart. I found the toughest incline to be between miles 8 and 10, although it doesn't look so bad according to this.

Here’s the elevation chart. I found the toughest incline to be between miles 8 and 10, although it doesn’t look so bad according to this.

In order to spread the field out, they added on a bit to the beginning of the race having us run downhill and then back up on paved road before we headed across a stream onto single track trail. There was a little bottlenecking at the stream crossing, but things opened up quickly and we were on our way.

I found the first section to be a bit technical with lots of rocks. The fresh snow added a whole other dimension to it. I found myself looking down and slightly ahead to see where I’d be stepping next, while keeping a little distance between me and the person in front of me so I could see better. This might sound terrible, but it also helped me know where not to step if they tripped or slipped.

The first aid station was around mile 3.25. I have to say they had some great snacks at the aid stations. Road races tend to be a bit boring with gels, water and gatorade. But the aid stations for this race had chex mix, pretzels, peanut M&Ms, plain M&Ms, swedish fish, etc. It was nice and honestly, a couple pretzels and a few M&Ms tasted great and kept me going. Maybe not the healthiest things, but neither are half the gels out on the market.

Here we all are (minus one person I don't recognize) coming into the first aid station.

Here we all are (minus one person I don’t recognize) coming into the first aid station.

And here's me attempting to have a nice race photo for once...I laughed when I saw this online. Too funny!

And here’s me attempting to have a nice race photo for once…I laughed when I saw this online. Too funny!

The next section of the course was pretty nice. Mostly rolling hills and not a lot of rocky areas. Apparently there were good views along this section, but you either couldn’t see them due to the weather or I just wasn’t paying attention.

The next few miles were fun with both trail and forestry road mixed in. Despite predictions all the snow and ice would be gone, at times we saw snow almost a foot deep and the fresh snow covered a lot of frozen snow pack and ice on the roads. I ended up falling twice, once on the road after slipping on ice (I popped right back up like it didn’t even happen) and once I slipped on some snow/mud and almost ate a plant :)

Somewhere between miles 8-10 there was a nice steep climb. We all wondered aloud if the lead runners actually run something like this or if they hike too. Regardless, thanks to all those who came before us we had some nice steps smashed into the snow to use to climb.

After the last aid station it was all downhill from there. This included another stretch of really technical trail that I found frustrating to walk. When it’s flat and/or downhill I don’t want to walk (I don’t really like walking uphill either to be honest), but I also wanted to keep my ankles in tact. Eventually you head into two water tunnels that run under the highway. The water was ice cold and ankle deep, but the ground is cement so you can run without worrying. I was warned to stay to the left after the second tunnel so I wouldn’t plunge into a pool. Definitely glad I heeded that advice!

Staying to the left as advised post-tunnel.

Staying to the left as advised post-tunnel.

Then it was all uphill to the finish.

Here's our crew coming up to the finish.

Here’s our crew coming up to the finish.

Almost there!

Almost there!

After the race, I changed to dry clothes and shoes in the car before grabbing a group photo with everyone.

Warm (well not really) and dry!

Warm (well not really) and dry!

I was pretty hungry on the way home and decided that after that I deserved a McFlurry and stopped for one on the way home. I never have those so no judging!

Overall it was a fun race. It had its difficult technical parts, as well as a nice mix of forestry road and snowy trail. They posted some pictures the next day from going to pick up the trail markers.

Not sure where this was, but it gives you an idea of some of the surroundings.

Not sure where this was, but it gives you an idea of some of the surroundings.

Can you tell we were there?

Can you tell we were there?

They also had a nice set up at the end with burgers, drinks, soup and beer, although I didn’t partake. I definitely love my hoodie too!

I think I’ll probably try to add a few other trail runs to the race schedule this year. They present different challenges and experiences than road running and road races, and the down-to-earth atmosphere and people definitely make it a fun time.

My next race is the Garden Spot Village Half on April 11. In the meantime I have a 20-miler to get through this coming weekend and then it’s taper time!