Fitness Inspirations

I love this Friday Five!  Who doesn’t love giving some props to people and things that inspire you??  So here are my biggest inspirations!


From the moment I decided I wanted to start running, my family wasn’t just my biggest supporter, but also my biggest inspiration.  I loved nothing more than that they push me to be the best I can be, believe in me completely and win or lose, they are by my side.  Nick and Hayden have spent many a Saturday morning loitering finish lines waiting for me to cross them.  They are the ones I draw inspiration from when I hit some tough spots in races.  2014-07-25 11.47.51-1


How can a group of 15-20 runners not be an inspiration!?  From their stories to why they started running, to their drive and determination while training for races, the support we give each other and the joy of having a partner in crime for every weekend run!  I am truly honored and blessed to have such an amazing group of friends who love to run together and love each other.2014-06-07 07.08.28


Within in our running group, there are a few of us who have children.  We all know what it is like to have to balance home and running.  We are constantly making schedules work and grabbing runs when we can.  I know when I say something about stressing out about making it all work, we are speaking the same language!


Over the past few months, I’ve read amazing posts about races bloggers were running, training for upcoming races and strategies and tips for running.  It’s through these posts that I get excited not only for them, but also for my upcoming races.  We are bonded through the experience of training for races and we all know how each other are feeling as the time draws closer to toe that starting line.  It’s awesome!  I’ve also been inspired to find other races outside of my comfort zone and think that I can do that too!

And finally…


Adios Summer!  It’s been real, but it’s time to go!  I cannot tell you how ready I am for some fall and winter time running.  We’ve been teased by cooler temperatures on and off, but I am ready for them to stay.  I want to bundle up.  I want to be cold in the mornings.  I want to wear a hat and mittens.  I want frozen hair.  That inspires me!

Who or what inspires you? 

Check out other fabulous inspirations where I linked up! Head over to this week’s Friday Five linkup:  Mar on the Run, You Signed Up For What?, and Eat, Pray, Run DC.

Happy Week!






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Saturday Morning Motivation #5

It’s another Saturday and another Saturday Morning Motivation!  Hope everyone had a super week!  Despite having a really tough week, there was still some bright spots to help me get through it all.

Have you seen this?!  This absolutely gave me the chills!  Simply awesome!


I just love this!  It was so spot on!

2014-08-20 09.18.48As you know, my running girls and I love Fellow Flowers!  Some days they just post things that make me shake my head in agreement and just speak to how I’m feeling.  This one of of those picture posts.

And finally, driving home the other night from a late night at school, I saw this beautiful sky!  It just reminded me that there was something bigger than me and all the stress and setbacks I was feeling and having really aren’t that big in the grand scheme of life.   I needed to see this and be reminded of that. 2014-08-19 19.28.20-1

Join in on the fun!  Share what motivated you this week! What you do have to do?

  • Create a blog about what motivated you this week.  Was it a quote?  A picture?  Something awesome?
  • Linkup every Saturday here at Runnergirl in a Rocking World.  Include the Saturday Morning Motivation picture (below) in your post or sidebar and/or a link back to my blog.
  • Look at others’ posts and comment if something they shared rocks your socks!  Give them some love!
  • Help spread the word!  Invite others to join in!saturdaymorningmotivation

I’m NEVER Doing That Again!

So this past March, those EXACT words came out of my mouth after finishing the Wrightsville Beach Marathon.  It was a tough marathon for me  and I felt completely beaten up.  I was 1-4 for good marathon experience and I quickly realized, maybe I’m not cut out for the marathon distance.  After thinking about it even further, I realized that I may not be good at beach marathons.  My 3 marathons that all stunk were all at the beach.  Though OBX was my first, I was so happy with a finish, but with Kiawah and Wrightsville Beach, I should have gotten a little better at running that distance.  And I did, I felt the exact same way in Kiawah and WB, but I held it together for a lot longer in Wrightsville.  Progress!

I took April, May and June off from training for a thing.  I regrouped and enjoyed not having to worry about distances or paces.  I loved it!  As June ended and July started, friends started talking about starting their training plans soon.  I spent a great deal of time self-reflecting and realized that I want to run another marathon this fall, but for a totally different reason than I’ve wanted to run one before.  So basically I’m eating my own words…never say never!  I know my Grandma is looking down on me and laughing.  She always told us to never say that because you never know!  She’s right!

I ran OBX because it was my first.  I ran Kiawah at an attempt to get just a bit faster and I actually felt worse than I did ever on a run.  I ran Richmond to support my friends (Total win!) and Wrightsville was to get another marathon in before I turned 40.  All valid reasons, but all came with attention to paces and times.  Blech!  I’ve run 50 miles over the course of 24 hours at Crooked Road last year, the week after Richmond too.  I have NO clue how long it took me to do that.  I can run a marathon the same way.

Why another marathon then?  I want to run another marathon because I can.   That’s my reason.  Simple as that.  Who’s gonna stop me?!  I just want to run and smile and love the simple fact that I had worked my butt off and I earned it.  I want to have a new marathon medal and a experience another starting line.  This will be my 5th marathon and finally, I get it.  Why the heck do I need to worry about what time I finish a marathon in?  I’m not fast enough to qualify for Boston (unless I keep this pace up when I’m 70!), so why am I ever concerned about a time goal?   So my friends and family think more of me?!  Yeah, cause we ALL talk to each other only because of races times and that’s the ONLY reason we hang out.  For “other” runners so I can feel my worth among the running community?  Why should I try to target a certain time in a race for other people?  Go ahead!  Look up my time!  Smile at how I did; laugh because you think I failed.  Have at it!  That time listed in the results has no bearing on anything.  It means nothing.  It’s only there to quantify the amount of time I moved forward, relentlessly.  That’s all.  I didn’t worry about time for Richmond and that was the MOST fun I ever had running a marathon.  I was there to support Daniel and Cara and just run.  I remember more from that race than any other marathon: the crowds, the signs, the course, etc.  I want that.  I want that “time”.   I will “just” run this one and I can’t wait!

So after counting weeks back from my target marathon, City of Oaks Marathon.  I realized that I should have started training a week ago but didn’t realize it.  Boy, this is gonna be one GREAT training!  ha! It ended up being fine once I looked at what I ran and my total miles for the week.  I actually came out ahead for the week with what I did so a huge plus!  So this week was the official start of marathon training and I’m so excited!!

I’m training for a marathon again…there, I said it.  🙂


Indoor Insanity Marathon Relay Recap

So what would make a person want to run a marathon relay on a 500m indoor track?!  Awesome friends and a promise of food and beer when you finish!

Two teams of Woo Hoo Crewers showed up last Sunday to run the inaugural Indoor Insanity Marathon Relay.  Katie and I were Team Woo Hoo Crew Girls, each running a half.  We were the only 2 person girl team!  Hells yeah!  Bekah, Daniel and Cara made up Team Three’s A Crowd, each running slight under 9 miles a piece.  Amanda and Bob ran the earlier indoor 5K race and they both stayed to volunteer and cheer on the runners. 936268_10200524476409075_1550927806_n

All teams, or if you were brave enough to run to solo, had to complete 84.4 laps around the JDL Fast Track.  Thankfully, the relay was “free form” so each team could decide how they would complete the marathon.  Some teams went for the speed approach and alternated every 1000m (2 laps); other teams opted for trying to get some miles under each leg before handing off to their teammates.  That was our approach to tackling the marathon.  We each thought running 7 laps (3500m, just over 2 miles ) for as long as we could be the best way to break the mileage up and maybe help us not to tire quickly.  Each team also had a lap counter and ours was Craig, who was awesome and super supportive!  He cheered for us each time we passed through the start/finish line.  He also kept us on track for finishing under 4:30, my goal for our team, though I’m not sure Katie knew that I made that goal.  I just thought if we ran really well, we could finish around 4:30.   I didn’t want to pressure her but I had complete confidence that we could do it!

I started ourme and katie team off, which the .4 was tacked on so my first leg was almost 2.3 miles.  With all the excitement of the race, I ran the first leg a little too fast and knew that I had to back off just a bit to be able to keep a good solid pace for the remaining legs. The course was similar to an Indy Car track.  We made left and right turns with each lap around the track, which was key to saving our legs and avoiding injury.  The layout of the track lent there to be a lot of crowd support from all of the other runners and volunteers.  We ran through the middle of the track where a lot of runners waiting for their turns were camped out.  The back side of the track and one of two straightaways was where I would recover and then work to gain speed again for the rest of each go around the course.  The other straightaway was behind a set of bleachers and out of view from the crowd, so it was my other time to recover a bit.  I really ran each 500m much like a Fartlek…running quickly through part of the course and recovering along the straightaways.  Not sure when I thought that was my approach, but I stuck with it for the entire race.

Katie ran the next 3500m and we kept this plan for for 3 legs a piece.  On the fourth leg, we were going to back down to 5 laps, but Katie, luckily great at math at that moment, realized we needed to run 6 so that we didn’t end up with a lap a piece at the end.  She quickly found me on the course and told me to run 6 laps.  After 6 laps a piece, we dropped to 5 laps each until the finish.  We finished the first half of the marathon right at 2:05:25.  It seemed like we’d have the 4:30 goal easily if we just kept up our momentum.600632_10151672177190351_277292052_n While Katie was out on her second to the last leg, Craig and I were chatting and looking at our time to see where we stood as far as the 4:30 goal.  Katie and I had been running really well.  At this point, we easily had 4:30, so Craig said if his math was right, we could have 4:20!  He had been tracking how fast Katie and were running each lap and he thought 4:20 was in reach.  He told me on my final leg of 5 laps, I needed to get back to the exchange zone by 4:00 in order to put us at 4:20 or under.

Katie finished up her 5th lap and she handed off to me.  I remember looking at the clock and thinking I only like 14 minutes to get all 5 laps in and get back by 4:00.  I am awful at doing math when I run, so that seemed almost crazy!  I took the time bracelet from Katie and just went.  I stayed with my Fartlek approach and with each lap I’d take a glimpse at the clock and try to figure out how fast I was running each lap.  I knew I was running each 500m about 2:45-2:50 so when I came through on my last lap, I had to keep a quick pace in order to make it back by 4:00.

I came rolling through the last turn and headed for the exchange zone just staring at the clock.  It was on 3:59:58!  Holy moly, I made it back in time!  I handed the bracelet to Katie945082_10151672185145351_1597229900_n at 4:00:02.  Katie had to just finish up her last 5 laps in 20 minutes.  Craig and I watched the TV that had the live results on it, looking at our time as Katie passed by for her first few laps.  We started doing the math and realized after her first 3 laps, we were going to be faster than even 4:20?!  Katie was running each lap progressively faster.  GO girl!!  She came through and started her last lap.  I joined her and ran with her for the last go around.  I filled her in while we ran at how well we were doing.  We looped through the course and came through the finish line, 4:16:56!

We got our medals and gave each other a big hug!  I was so proud of us both and how well we ran.  We stayed upbeat and positive the whole time!  Sure we were tired and achy, but we did it!  Both of us went into this marathon relay just for the fun of it.  We knew that 9407_10200527620927686_866026197_nno matter what, we’d each run a half and it would take us a long as it would take.  Little did we know that we’d end up running not only faster than 4:30 or even a 4:20.  We were the first all girl team to come through the finish line!   That was just the icing on the cake. WOO HOO!

As promised there was beer and food post race.  Everyone grabbed a beer, some went over to get massages and we decided that we’d head to Foothills for post race grub.  It was an awesome event!  We look forward to returning next year and bringing even more people with us.

To read about Team Three’s A Crowd’s experience, read Daniel’s race recap: Indoor Insanity Marathon Relay

I Like Big Samples and I Cannot Lie!

The start of April brings singing birds, awesome weather, and the next round of monthly subscription boxes!  I always look forward to the beginning of each month, anxiously anticipating the awesomeness that will be included in each of my subscriptions.  As far as beauty boxes, I have been getting a Birchbox since July 2012 and have added Ipsy (formally Glam Bag) this month after being on a short waiting list.  I’m excited to see what will be included in each of those and maybe make a decision on which of the two to continue with next month.  Though, I’m pretty sure, I’ll end keeping both subscriptions!  I also bought Nick a month of Birchbox for Men just to try it out.  He isn’t too big into the whole guy skin and hair product rage, but since each box is tailored to your likes and lifestyle, maybe there will be some useful products in his box.

My most anticipated box this month is the StrideboxLast month’s box was chock full of practical goodies for runners.  I could not wait to try out the products.  The two bars, the Picky Bar and the Kind Bar, made their way to my gym bag.  I always eat a snack before each post work run so I knew that these two would be gobbled up in no time.  I already love Kind bars so I ate that one first (their newest flavor, dark chocolate nut and sea salt), saving the Lauren’s Mega Nut Picky Bar.  As much as I love getting the goodies in all my boxes last month, I hoard them. Seriously.  Much like my gift card collection, I like to hang on to the samples until I can absolutely savor them.  I do it with my Birchboxes already, using up the products that I currently use or interest me the least and saving the ones that I know will be awesome.  It’s a crazy weird quirk, but that’s me. 🙂

That being said, the Kind bar was really tasty.  I had intentions of taking a pic of each bar, but I ate this one before I took a picture.  Oops!  The bar was the perfect mix of chocolate and sea salt. Crunchy and a little gooey, exactly what you want as a snack before a run.  It sticks with ya, but not in a bad-upset-your-stomach-kind-of-way.

After hoarding for a few weeks, I finally gave into the Picky Bar experience and loved the bar!!  It was amazing.  It was a softer bar but it had plenty of crunch.  It tasted like the inside part of a Snickers Peanut Butter egg from Easter but way more nutritious.   There 2013-03-06 15.26.52were also pieces of dates and cranberries which added sweetness and tartness in some bites.  The crunch in the bar was from pumpkin seeds, walnuts and cashews.  The bar has a bit of sea salt which took the bar over the top of other bars for me.  This bar was awesome! They aren’t available locally yet, but with the Picky Club, I can have 18 bars delivered monthly for $37.  They also have boxes of 10 bars available too.  Definitely contemplating signing up, they were that good.

So in true sample hoarding fashion, I am hanging on to the two Power Ice freezer bars.  I want to fully enjoy one of those after a long hot humid Summer run.  I dream of finishing a run and cooling down with one of those; they are perfect for that.  I gave the two Peanut Butter GUs to my hubby.  GU and my tummy just do not get along well.  I should have put my Run Guard into my gym bag already.  I ended up getting a slight burning under by arm on Sunday’s long run and instead of using lip balm to calm down the chafing, I could have used this.  Lesson learned, it’s in my bag now.

The fab pink wrist wallet from Given Brand is now in my gym bag.  I am planning on using it today on my run.  I usually wear shorts or capris with small key pockets already, so I need to consciously make an effort to use this one.  As far as the last two products, Win sports detergent and Click protein drink, yup, you guessed it, I haven’t tried those either.  I have a hard time incorporating the samples that are out of my normal routine.  I need to make a conscious effort to remember to use these.  I have a few more days left before my new box arrives, so I hope to finish sampling the rest of this one first.  But knowing how I am, I’ll probably still have some things hanging around.

“Birchbox” for Runners?! Awesome!

I love my monthly Birchbox shipment.  What girls wouldn’t love a beautifully wrapped box of beauty samples and other fun goodies!  Don’t worry, guys, theybirchbox-homepage-600x298-dec didn’t forget about you, they also have Birchbox Man.  In any given box, there are usually 6-8 high end samples for face cream to shampoo and nail polish to lip gloss.  Each box is based on your own personal beauty profile which you can update at any time. Some boxes have even had some cute goodies such as headphones, hair ties and chocolate covered potato chips!  The ability to try products first without spending hefty price tags is also a huge benefit.  I’ve purchased full size items of some of the samples I tried and found out others didn’t really live up to the promises.  Stupid stretch marks, I had such high hopes for that cream too!  Every month is a surprise and I love Birchbox delivery day!

While I was looking at details about #Runchat’s I love Running challenge, I saw one of the prizes listed was a monthly subscription for Strideboxsb-three-samplesThey described it as a monthly box of assorted running products (apparel, nutrition, accessories, etc.).  I had to check that out, it sounded just like Birchbox, but for runners! What a brilliant idea!  I clicked on their site and immediately signed up for the first month once I read the details.  At $15 a box, I felt like that was really reasonable and what a great way to try out new products.  Just like Birchbox, you can cancel your subscription at any time.  They just sent out the February boxes, so I’m anxiously awaiting the March delivery.  Once the box arrives, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts about it.

Now, I’ll have two days to look forward to each month, Birchbox and Stridebox days!

Life is full of challenges and surprises.

~Jill Sander