Tag Archives: Guest Post

We’re All Runners (Guest Post)

13 Mar

Time for the next guest post. This is Lindsay, who blogs at Lindsay Weighs In! She is such an inspiring blogger, and I have loved following her journey towards her first half marathon!!! She’s another central PA blogger too!

—————————————-

Hi ya’ll! My name is Lindsay, and I blog over at Lindsay Weighs In about my journey to lose 70 pounds, while still enjoying a cupcake or two along the way 😉

Image

I’m so happy to be here, as I LOVE Becca’s blog. I’m running my first half marathon in just a little over two weeks (!!!) something I never thought I’d do.

I don’t look like a runner.

I’m overweight. My thighs touch (and probably always will! Thank you 13 years of soccer.) By all means and assessment, if someone looked at me, they wouldn’t think I’m a runner.

But I am.

I’m certainly not the fastest runner. I’ll likely never win any races, or win any age group awards. But I’m still a runner.

I wanted to become a runner long before I actually signed up for any races. Reading healthy living blogs and running blogs, I looked at these runners, many of them skinny and in shape and decided I could never do that.

That’s straight up cray cray, you guys.

I kept myself from doing something I wanted to do because I didn’t think I looked the part.

I was afraid to run outside because I was afraid of what people would think. I was afraid to run with a running group because I didn’t want to be slow. I was afraid to sign up for races because I didn’t want to finish last.

Image

My second 5K – I finished this race last.

You know what, it’s OKAY to run/walk a race, and actually many people use that method. It’s okay to finish last, or in the back of the pack. Of the 3 5Ks that I’ve done, I’ve finished towards the back in all of them.

I’m STILL a runner!

In September, I finally signed up for a half marathon, something that I’ve always wanted to do. This has always been a huge bucket list item for me, and I’m so glad I finally faced my fears and signed up!

It certainly wasn’t easy to face my fears, but little by little I started chipping away at them.

I started running outside, and didn’t care what anyone thought. I prefer that to running on the treadmill, and I always find my runs so much more enjoyable when I’m outside.

I ran with a local running group. This was one of the biggest steps that I’ve made since I started running, and something that has helped me immensely. As I’ve mentioned, this was terrifying to me.

From my Instagram, waiting in the car that day!

From my Instagram, waiting in the car that day!

I started working with a running coach. Having someone to bounce things off of was great, and being accountable to someone was the motivation I knew that I needed.

But there were still bumps in the road, and training for this half marathon has taught me A LOT.

You need to stick to your training plan! It was almost that I was afraid I was going to fail, so I set myself up to fail. I should have gotten serious about my training long before I did. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified for this half marathon. I have four hours to cross that finish line, and I’m going to put my everything into not getting swept off that course.

That’s the point, you guys. Running is all about you. The work you put into it. The sweat you put into it. That it makes you happy. Running makes me happy (because endorphins make you happy… Elle Woods anyone?) and I’m going to continue to do it, no matter how far in the back of the pack I am.

guestpost_lindsay6

It’s not about your mile time, or the shoes you have (even though I LOVE my Brooks Ghost, my Caspers as I call them ;)) or what distances you’ve run. It’s not about if you’re a seasoned runner, or if you’re just heading out for your very first run. All that matters is that you’re out there running, doing something that you love.

It’s still hard for me to call myself a runner, but I know that I am. If you run, you’re a runner, plain and simple.

If you’re thinking about becoming a runner, and it’s something that you’ve been scared about, I truly hope that you give it a try. I’m so happy that I did 🙂

Advertisements

Racing as a Part of Half (or Full!) Marathon Training (Guest Post)

11 Mar

Hey there. Since I’m getting a little R&R this week I’ve enlisted some of my favorite bloggers to provide guest posts for you!  First up is Sarah, who blogs at Sparkly Runner! This girl is a central PA runner like myself and just completed the Dopey Challenge as her first Marathon in January!

—————————————-

You’ve signed up for a half or full marathon. Congratulations! Now what?!?

Training. Lots and lots of training. If you’re anything like me, looking at a training plan for a distance race is both motivating and terrifying. I recently completed the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World and the training plan included some very long training runs!

Image

I love everything about races- there are mile markers, water stops, bathrooms, cheering fans, medals, t-shirts- what’s not to love? However, most training runs don’t have any of those fun aspects of races. Most of the time, it’s just you and the road, slogging it out for miles and miles. Not to mention that during training runs, you have to carry your food, water, keys, etc. with you or plan your route so you’ll pass by the essentials. Let’s be honest- even though training is effective, sometimes it’s just not that fun. But, if you plan it right, you can use races for your training runs and get the best of both worlds.

At the beginning of Dopey training, the first thing I did was to look at the dates for all the scheduled long runs on the official runDisney training plan. All runDisney events feature an official training plan that can be downloaded as a PDF or right into your calendar. I chose to download it to my gmail calendar and then print it out so I could plan all six months of training. For anything over 10 miles, I looked for local races that would supply some or all of the distance scheduled. In some cases I rearranged the long run weekends to fit races.

Image

For example, in October there was a scheduled 17 mile run on the 20th Marathon was going to happen on October 12th knew that there was the option to complete the Baltimore 5k at 8 am on the 12th the half marathon at 9:30 am on the same day thus getting 16.3 miles. After walking to and from the parking lot, I knew I’d reach 17 miles for the day. I would much rather run 17 miles of races than do it as a training run.

Image

Local 5k and 10k races also were great to fit in to the schedule. When the mileage scheduled was longer than the race, I would just run more after the race to get in all the miles needed. This plan really helped to combat boredom during training and add to my race t-shirt collection.

In addition to all the great things about racing, completing races as part of your training can really help you to work through any race-day anxieties you may experience on your “big” race day. During Dopey training, I thought of every race as just another long, supported training run. This really helped me to learn how to handle many issues during the actual Dopey races. I was able to practice my fuel strategy, pacing, bathroom breaks, and running alongside thousands of other people- much like I would be doing in Walt Disney World. By incorporating races into my training, I was able to replicate the Dopey races much better than if I were just doing a training run.

Even if your half/full marathon doesn’t have an official training plan to follow, you can download one of many training plans and start working on fitting some races into the schedule. I’m a big fan of Jeff Galloway and Hal Higdon. You can also start looking for local races. Active.com and your local running store are great places to get more information about your area’s events.

The best way to be prepared for your half or full marathon is to train. And a great way to train is to mimic the race-day environment as often as you can. Running races as a part of your training is an effective way to get the miles in and get all the fun benefits of racing.

Good luck and happy training!

ImageEven though she’s run over 50 races- including a marathon and 10 half marathons, Sarah still considers herself a newbie to the running world. What started as a way to lose weight in January 2010 has quickly become a lifestyle. Sarah lives with her 7-time marathoner boyfriend in central Pennsylvania but considers Walt Disney World to be her second home. When she’s not blogging at Sparkly Runner, she loves making new friends- you can find her on twitter or Instagram– both @sparklyrunner.

Race to Remember: Staten Island Half Marathon (Guest Post)

17 Mar

I got so many great guest posts that I’m going too continue posting them this week. This one is by Kasandra who blogs at Urban In Suburbia.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Hi my name is Kasandra and I blog over at Urban In Suburbia where I blog about my running escapades all while juggling work and school.  Just this past January, I made my one year “runniversary.”  One year of running and I have run over thirty races, six of them half-marathons! Apparently I like to go big or go home.

My favorite race to date is the Staten Island Half Marathon which occurred last October. I used to live on Staten Island and my mom still lives there so not only did I get to run through my old neighborhood, I got to see my family afterwards!
The weather that day was cold and overcast, with clouds threatening to rain.  I had worn multiple layers but I was still cold.  Despite having run hundreds of miles, mile one always sucks. Seriously – every time I think “why am I doing this?” But that feeling goes away as it comes. Staten Island is pretty flat which made for a nice, non-complicated run. Mile 2 I had to stop to use a port-a-potty… and I did, but the line was so long that it ate 15 minutes of my time. But I did not care. Miles 3-5 flew and at the 10K mark, I felt great. Miles 8-9 seemed to kind of drag, but I was in single-digit territory, and that is all that mattered. At mile 10 the clouds opened up and it began to pour. I did not let that stop me – I kept on going even though I was pretty sure I was slowly turning into a popsicle.
By mile 12, I was running along a bus route that I have taken countless times going to/from work.  So as I got closer and closer, I ticked off buildings to the finish line. At mile 13, I was thrilled to see the finish line. My niece jumped in jumped in and began running with me. Wegrabbed each other’s hands and raised our hands in victory as we crossed. And she even got a medal too!
si half mile 13
What really made this race so memorable was that this was my first half where I did not stop to take a walk break; it was on my old turf; and my niece ran with me at the last 100 meters or so. Bonus: According to MapMyRun, I got a PR of 2:15!
si half medal
I cannot wait to run this race again this year!! But in the meantime I got two more halfs and a marathon to train for! Check out my blog to find out where I am running next!
Ways to connect:
Twitter – @urbaninsuburbia
Instagram – @urbaninsuburbia
Pinterest – @urbaninsuburbia

Do I diet? How Do I Eat Healthy? (Guest Post)

16 Mar

This post is by Stacey, who blogs at Pugmamastace!

———————————————————————————————————————————

One of coworkers asked me this question the other day, and I had a hard time coming up with a concise answer! My eating habits have evolved over the years, and are now more what I refer to as moderate and clean than anything else. I still have my times when I will have a packaged or processed food, because I am not perfect. I am also a very busy person that works long days, so if I’m crunched for time, sometimes packaged foods are the only things I have a chance to grab.

I have been making it a habit to cook for myself once or twice per week so I have food to take to work with me. This way, I know what is in it, because I have control over the ingredients. More on this later.

When I was younger, the low fat diet was “all the rage,”  and that’s primarily what I followed. I was scared to death of fat grams. This was my mindset through college and for a few years after that. Then, I had some unhealthy years where every attempt I made to be healthy failed for one reason or another (alcohol maybe!?? Oh yeah, that’s it!)  Now here I am! I’m the healthiest I have ever been in my life, and I want to share how I did/do it!

As far as general rules I have, there are a few that mostly apply to when I am eating at a restaurant or not making the food myself. I stay away from deep fried foods, creamy sauces or dressings, things drenched in cheese, and full calorie beverages.  In fact, I try to stay away from coke and soda in general. I’ll have an occasional diet coke, but not the three or four per day like I used to. I also try to avoid things that are full of sugar and super high in fat (bad fat—saturated and trans.) I stick with grilled chicken or fish when I can.

One of the first steps I took when I started eating healthier was buying whole wheat instead of white things. Whole wheat bread, pasta, crackers, and everything else that had the option. Whole wheat pasta wasn’t very good when it first came out, but I still ate it. I am not that picky when it comes to pasta. I love it almost as much as I love cheese. I do not discriminate, lol! I discovered pastas that were enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, as well. One brand is called Barilla Plus.

It also has more protein and fiber in it than white pasta. The texture is nothing like that of whole wheat pasta. I think it’s a great alternative if you aren’t a fan of whole wheat. These kinds of pasta are not just empty carbs that have a high glycemic index and turn into fat. They will also satiate you more quickly, and keep you fuller longer.

I recently discovered quinoa pasta at Sprouts. It definitely has a different texture, but it’s great! It is also high in protein and fiber.

These pastas hold so much more nutritional value than plain white pasta that switching just this one thing is a huge step toward becoming healthier! What kind of alternatives to white pasta do you like?

As far as bread goes, I stick to whole wheat or whole grain breads that have high amounts of whole grains, fiber and are higher in protein. I am a huge fan of sandwich thins. They are made by a few different companies, and are only around 100 calories a piece. I also like the FlatOut wraps. I think I got those from Costco in whole wheat, but they can be found at the regular grocery store as well.

Soft 100% Whole Wheat Packaging

I have also incorporated more fresh fruit into my diet. I am not a huge veggie fan, but I have ones that I like, so I stick to them. I also juice regularly. I bought a Jack Lalanne juicer from Costco. It works great, and can juice everything from apples and oranges to kale, spinach and ginger. One of my favorite combinations is orange, apple, carrot, beet and an inch of fresh ginger juiced together. I’ll make a pitcher of it for the week and have it gone by Wednesday! I have been adding kale and spinach to this lately, and you can’t even taste the difference. When you juice with strong fruits, their flavors mask most of the flavors of the random veggies.

IMG_0809

One thing that I have learned through reading healthy living blogs and talking to different people I that “fat” is not something to be scared of. Our brains need fats to function. There are obviously healthier fats than others. I still consume them in moderation, but am no longer scared to do so. A few examples of good fats I like are almond butter, coconut oil, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados.

Some people like to stay away from dairy. I don’t consume a ton of dairy products on a regular basis, but I still like Greek yogurt and cheese. Occasionally I will make overnight oats where I’ll stir oatmeal (the regular kind, not the sugary kind) into my yogurt before I go to bed, then add fruit, chia seeds, almond butter or slivered almonds in the morning. It’s perfect for when you are running out the door to go to work. A lot of times I will drink my fresh juice on the way to work along with it.

Another part of my healthy eating has been modifying recipes to make them healthier. Ari from Ari’s Menu is very good at this. I have gotten a lot of ideas from her on recipe substitutions, though I do have a few tricks of my own ;).  Almost every recipe I blog about has had healthy substitutions. Making your own meals, as I said earlier, is nice because you have control of exactly what you use to make it. If you want to use organic everything, do it! If you are lactose intolerant, use almond milk or soy milk instead of cow’s milk. You see, you are in control of what you put into your body. They say that being fit and healthy is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I don’ know if I believe it to be that skewed, but I do believe it is extremely important to make good food choices. They also say you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I do believe this!

It is especially important to fuel properly if you are an endurance athlete. Make sure you get balanced nutrition, and supplement where necessary. I take an A thru Z women’s multivitamin everyday. I also take fish oil, glucosamine/chondroitin, calcium, magnesium and iron on almost a daily basis. Everyone has different needs as far as supplements. (You know my disclaimer-ask your doctor before starting any kind of new diet or supplement regimen. Or, come to my pharmacy and ask me! Just don’t say I told you to on here, because I am just telling you guys what *I* do, k? ;)) I like to refuel with low fat chocolate milk after my long runs. It’s important to refuel to help promote healing and recovery.

IMG_0840

As far as meats go, I stick to chicken, pork and fish for the most part. I will occasionally go for a lean cut of beef like a filet or a flank steak. Sometimes I’ll use 99% lean ground beef.

Like I said earlier, I still cheat on occasion. For example, the night after Ragnar was over, I had a small Philly Cheese Steak pizza from Dominos and two red velvet cupcakes. The next day, I resumed eating healthy again! I used to have the attitude that if I screwed up my diet for the day, I could just eat terribly for the rest of the day because I already screwed it up. It is SO important to just pick up right where you left off! If you have a fattening, unhealthy breakfast, start your day over (regarding food) and eat healthy from that moment on. It’s not easy, and it takes willpower. You can do it, though! I saw this on Facebook today, and it is perfect for this post!

598930_556449777708793_818009510_n[1]

It takes 21 days to make a habit. Make small changes every 21 days, and watch what happens! (This also applies to exercise!)

I am always looking for healthy eating ideas and recipes. Please comment below and let me know your favorite healthy recipes or foods! You can also leave a link to the recipe if that is easier.

I hope this helped any of you that were unsure of how to head in the direction of clean and healthy eating!

Happy Trails!

Stacey

It’s Awesome Being a Vegetarian. (Guest Post)

15 Mar

This post is by Lea, who blogs at Greens & Coffee Beans. Obviously being a vegetarian isn’t for everyone (I’m a firm believer that everyone’s body requires different nutrients and you should find what works for you), but I’m a huge fan of it obviously, and so is Lea. Maybe her list below will help you to make the “jump” if you are currently thinking about becoming a vegetarian. If you have any questions about it feel free to ask me or Lea in the comments! Enjoy!

———————————————————————————————————————————

Hey guys! My name is Lea, I blog over at Greens & Coffee Beans and I’m very excited to be stepping in for Becca today!

guestpost_lea
I know Becca is a vegetarian, and as a fellow vegetarian, I thought I’d tell you why it’s awesome being a vegetarian.

I went meat-free at the ripe old age of 14, and 7 years later my vegetarian lifestyle is still going strong. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I haven’t once regretted it. Maybe I’m a little (okay, a lot) biased but I think everyone should be a vegetarian. Why?

Well, let me give you a few reasons.

  1. It saves money. I’m a college student, which translates into one teeny tiny budget. If you don’t go all crazy with the fake meat substitutes (which you really shouldn’t  have you ever read the ingredients in those things, it sounds like a science lab), a vegetarian diet is pretty cheap. Staples like beans, tofu, eggs (if you’re not a vegan), veggies and grains are pretty darn cheap. Much cheaper than meat.
  2. We’re sexy. Did you know Ne-Yo, Jason Mraz, Dax Shepard, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Bell, Brad Pitt and Pamela Anderson are all vegetarians? I think you’d be in some pretty sweet company. And those aren’t the only ones.
  3. It can make you healthier. Vegetarians have a much lower rate of heart diseases and other health problems (check out this article if you’re interested in learning more). There is still plenty of junk food that’s vegetarian (hello Oreos!), but it can make a big difference in your health. Even Bill Clinton adopted a vegetarian diet to deal with his health problems.
  4. It opens you up to new foods. I was the pickiest child ever. I’m still not sure how my parents kept me fed as a child because I hated everything that wasn’t bread, cheese or sugar. Sorry mom and dad. However, after adopting a vegetarian diet and cutting out a whole food group, it almost forced me to expand my tastes and try new foods. Now I will eat almost everything that meat-free (except pickles, those are still gross).
  5. You can help the environment. It takes far fewer natural resources and produces much less waste to farm veggies than animals. Plus, plants don’t poop which gets rid of all those nasty hog lagoons. Vegetarian or not I think we can all agree that those are GROSS.
  6. It can protect you strange and gross foods. You now have a solid excuse if your cute little granny makes you liver and onions and you don’t want to hurt her feelings (unless you’re into that kinda thing). It’s nice to have a legit excuse against weird foods like anchovies, liver, escargot, frog legs, etc. Though you’ll still have to work out a good excuse for the non-meat ones (like pickles).
  7. It saves cute fuzzy animals like these guys: guestpost_lea2 guestpost_lea3

I know that vegetarianism isn’t right for everyone, but I happen to think it’s pretty awesome.