' Adventures with FitNyx: June 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Quick Updates

I'm not even going to apologize for my scant posting this time - I haven't been writing because I've been out LIVING!  My weekdays are full of work and meetings and classes and running and playing with Kaalia, and my weekends have been packed with races (both worked and run) followed by concerts, boating, pig roasts, hiking...  All kinds of things!  Even my Instagram account, which usually gets at least one post per day, has been slow, because I've been putting the electronics down more often to sink deeper into some of the amazingly fun experiences I've been having.  The coming July 4th weekend promises to be equally exciting, with a Wish You Were Here concert on Saturday, a full day on the lake scheduled for Sunday, and possibly an Indians game (first place, eh) on Monday night!

Despite the excitement, I have still been training, racing, and working on some posts that just aren't quite ready yet.  Here's a quick synopsis of some of my fitness happenings lately in case I don't get a chance to finish those for another few days:

Camera caught me dancin' after the race, ha!

Hill Yeah Half Marathon: As the name would imply, this was a crazy hilly course!  It's out in the beautiful Lake Metroparks so while the elevation was challenging, the scenery was lovely - even in the crazy rain that plagued my first few miles.  Fortunately I spent most of the hardest rainfall under the trees of Chapin Reservation, moving a little slow as I stuck with one of my running community connections who was nursing an almost-healed injury.  When the rain let up, though, it was time for me to pick up the pace, and even with the hills (and some stomach troubles) I managed to finish under 2:30.  Pretty happy with the race, overall, and will definitely finish my full recap soon!

Half Fanatics: Upon crossing the Hill Yeah finish line, I had officially qualified for Half Fanatics by completing three half marathons in three months!  I joined HF pretty quickly after qualifying, and am now proudly Fanatic #15011!  Next level needs six half marathons in six consecutive calendar months, and I know I can get at least five straight, so that's the new goal I suppose...  I just have to figure out how to get one in September, which will be a very tough month as a race manager.  We have OUR big half marathon in September, so I'm hoping there's some way I can work at the starting line until the race begins, run the race, then help post-race with cleanup and whatever else is needed.  Busy day, but that would be my sixth month!  I'll have one in October for sure (exactly 5 months and 29 days after my first half this year) but it HAS to be consecutive months to count...

Towpath 10-10: I actually ran another race in June, and it was the first time I've ever repeated a race.  This one was the Towpath 10-10, which was my first race after returning to Cleveland, and the connections I made at this race last year helped me get through the murky waters of divorce misery AND launched me into my dream job!  So running any Towpath race has a special place in my heart, especially this one.  It was a very HOT day, but the race started at 7 so we had an hour of slightly cooler temps and I took full advantage, running the first half of the race over a minute per mile faster than the pace I'd need to PR at the ten mile distance.  After it warmed up, I only slowed a little, and that was mostly to stretch out a tight hamstring with two miles remaining.  I crossed the finish line in 1:37, which is a PR by over seven minutes, and twenty minutes faster than I ran this same course last year!  Definitely pleased with this performance, that's for sure!

Hydrus Performance Hydration: Over the past month and a half, I've switched my hydration strategy a bit to feature a new product I've been trying, called Hydrus.  It's a liquid concentrate to be added to water, comes in orange and lemon-lime (I love the orange), and can be purchased in bulk bottles or in individual-serving packet boxes.  I've actually met with the minds behind Hydrus, and learned a lot about why I've seen so many positive effects, not just with running hydration but with managing my electrolyte balance day-to-day as well.  This is a company that is definitely going places, and I'm excited to have Hydrus in my arsenal as the summer gets hotter and hotter!

Gypsy Runner Shorts: At the Rite Aid Half Marathon a few months ago, I fell in love with a pair of galaxy print running shorts at one of the expo stalls, and had to try them.  With a longer inseam than most of my shorts, and huge pockets on either side, they seemed to be the perfect solution to some of the issues I've had with other running gear.  After many short runs and several long ones (including that PR at the 10-10), I can confidently say this is the best pair of bottoms I have in my entire fitness wardrobe!  Check out the awesome running gear from the Gypsy Runner, including shorts, skirts, tops, compression gear, and more, I'm sure you'll love it!  And when I manage to get my full review up, you might even be able to snag a discount...

There's so much more to share, but there's precious little time for sitting at a desk in front of a screen when the world is out there all warm and sunny and full of adventure!  The house hunt looms on the horizon, and once there's a place to settle down a bit, I'll be able to organize better, but for now I'm going to let my semi-nomadic life situation take me wherever it will, and I plan to thoroughly enjoy the ride.  Lots of training posts yet to come, new products I've been trying, etc etc - I'll get to those when I can, but hopefully y'all are able to go enjoy YOUR life away from screens while the summer is in full gear too!

So, how HAVE you be living life this summer?  What adventures have occupied your time?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cavs Championship Parade

If you haven't heard the news, the 50+ year Cleveland sports curse was lifted on Sunday when the Cavs won Game 7 of the NBA Finals.  Around here, that's kind of a big deal.  So big a deal that almost the entire city shut down today and 1.3 million Clevelanders made their way downtown for the Cavs Championship celebration!

My office is located in the barely-out-of-downtown neighborhood of Tremont, and we actually attempted to function normally for a while this morning, even agreeing to arrive early so we could conduct some business before heading down to the parade.  We'd originally had a race scheduled for the afternoon, but decided to postpone to allow registered participants a chance to fully partake of the celebrations in the city.  Everyone showed early for work (I was actually one of the last to arrive, as I hit some of the influx of traffic that jammed up some of the main highways) but it didn't take long for us to realize it was relatively futile: the level of energy EVERYWHERE in the city was just too high and too intoxicating!  Most of the staff was already headed downtown by 9am, with the parade scheduled to start at 11.

I joined my coworker and some of her family on the trek from the office to Gateway, where the parade route would begin.  Her husband was already set up at the end of the route, but we got a later start than the rest of the office and weren't sure we'd make it in time to see all of the parade.  Instead we picked a prime-looking spot right in front of the Q where we'd see the very beginning of the procession, then make our way to the rally afterwards.  Then, we waited.

And waited.  And waited...  Finally around 11:30 the parade was actually making its way around the corner and towards the eagerly awaiting sea of Clevelanders.  The first thing I remember about the parade was SO MUCH CONFETTI!  Other early highlights in the lineup included the Ohio State marching band (along with several coaches including Urban Meyer), the marching band and Irish dance squad from LeBron's high school, notable Cleveland sports figures (including Jim Brown, Bernie Kosar, and Earnest Byner), the Gladiators arena football team, the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team (fresh off their own championship), and even a recent MMA champion fighter who also happened to be from Cleveland.  There was a famous Cleveland rapper somewhere along the line too, but I have no idea who he is...

Finally, we got to the Cavs players, who were split up along a number of vehicles.  Most of the players were engaging the crowd as much as possible (and as much as they were allowed), but I believe early in the parade they stuck more to the vehicles than they did later, as I saw clips on TV of players actually walking into the crowd.  It took the parade something like three hours to complete the one-mile route, due to a combination of so much fan interaction and fans blocking the street.  I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I ended up in pretty much the very front row, which gave me the ability to snag high-fives and handshakes from almost EVERY PLAYER.  The only two who didn't even reach out (at least at my location) were Kevin Love and LeBron.  Once it was clear the parade would go on for a while, many of the players got even more engaged, but I was pretty happy with my experience!  Heck, I even got champagned-on by RJ, sooooo, no complaints here!

Following the parade, the city hosted a huge rally, with speakers from the team, management, and ownership.  Because it was sweltering hot and the stage was on the other side of the city (and who knew how long it would take for that to finish), I headed back to the office/my car once the parade had fully passed by my location.  With so many people still hanging out downtown, I was able to get back to the office to respond to some emails, then get all the way home before the rally started - so I just watched it on TV at home while rehydrating.  I'm writing this as I cap of the evening watching the Indians game (they're in first place, don'tcha know) and playing Frisbee with the puppy, making it an all-around pretty awesome kind of day!

Now that Cleveland has finally brought home another pro sports championship. maybe we'll get on a roll with a few more.  The aforementioned first place Tribe could easily be next!  Of course, those Browns are probably still a lost cause, but two outta three ain't bad, as they say.  As much as I've enjoyed some of the celebrations, I think I'll be happy to see the frenetic energy of the city die down a little.  There's so much going on in my own life, having the additional craziness of a frenzied city has been a little overwhelming - but I fear there is only more to come with the RNC slated to take place in Cleveland in less than one month.  Hopefully, the RNC will be as incident-bare as the Cavs saga has been (only a few major issues from the crowds, and no rioting/looting so far), but I'm guessing considering the Republican candidate, we won't be so lucky again!  For now, let's rest on our laurels and recuperate a bit!

Has your city been overtaken by a massive celebration?  Did you partake, or avoid?  What is your favorite part of huge city-wide parties?  Does a sports championship in your city make you feel like you, yourself, are a champion?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Truelife Fitness Apparel

I think I may have finally discovered the perfect pair of fitness leggings: the Katies from Truelife Fitness Apparel!  These incredible leggings have the softest, sleekest feel of any pair I've ever owned (even after multiple washings - score) and are made from an amazing moisture-wicking fabric that works better than the rest of my "dri-fit" wardrobe.  Seriously, I wear these things in a hot studio full of sweaty bodies in the middle of summer, and don't overheat.  It's basically a miracle.

I bought the large size, knowing my big thighs usually are a size up from my waist, and was not disappointed in the fit.  The fabric hugs my legs perfectly, and even though the waist is just a smidge big, it's still comfortable and the leggings STAY UP, which has not been the case with other pairs I have purchased in a slightly larger size to accommodate for the ol' soccer legs.  No bunching in the crotch in these babies!  My only issue with the fit is that the legs are very long and wrap around my feet if I don't bunch them up a bit around the ankles.  Probably more to do with me being short than with the legging design, honestly...

Beyond just offering amazing clothing, though, Truelife Fitness has an emotional backstory, as do the names for each of the available items.  Owner Jess draws inspiration for the clothing she creates from the amazing people in her life, making attire that fits the personality and influence of the people after which each item is named.  Truelife Fitness is an endeavor of the heart, and the clothing that comes out of Jess's love and admiration is a fitting homage to the people who have shaped her life.  PLUS, Truelife Fitness partners with Women Win, a charity that helps provide young women with access to sports - and the many important life lessons that come from participating in athletics.

Having grown up in the midst of the developing women's sporting world, I know firsthand the power of being a part of an athletic team.  I also know that many girls don't have access to something I assumed was universal as a child, and believe that the mission of Women Win is one of the best ways we can start working to make a better future for the next generation.  Every purchase from Truelife Fitness includes a $2 donation to this amazing program, so if the awesomeness of the clothing wasn't enough to grab ya, hopefully the great cause and inspirational purpose behind the apparel will!

Disclaimer: I received this product at no cost in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed herein are, as always my own.  I am not in any way affiliated with Women Win, it just happens to be a cause I support linked to a product I have tried.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Speaking to My Soul

As usual, I'm running behind on some posts I had planned.  Life is taking me on a crazy ride (doesn't it always?) and I'm trying to trust the currents will keep moving me forward - and then there's this whole bonus where I get to enjoy some incredible experiences along the way!  I didn't think I'd have time to spend on writing today, and there are some posts that need my attention soon, but I'm putting a few things aside because I feel compelled to post today about one of my weekend experiences and a package I received today.

First: the weekend.  Though I had to work at 6am both Saturday and Sunday (typical race manager schedule), I was able to spend the entirety of Saturday afternoon and evening at Nelson's Ledges Quarry Park for a large portion of ClassicFest.  I've never been to the Ledges, and honestly hadn't even heard of the park until recently.  It's apparently a big camping and festival site here in Ohio that often caters to the "hippie" crowd.  Not too long ago, I would have avoided a place like that like the plague, hating to be around drinkers and substance users.  I don't do either myself and for ages I felt incredibly uncomfortable in those situations.  Lately, though, I've been getting in touch with my "inner hippie" more and more often, through meditation, yoga, spiritual reconnection, and other activities - remember when I started with that drum circle last year?  So when the opportunity to see some tribute bands for my favorite groups came up, I was actually intensely curious about being a part of this festival.

Heading out to the Ledges ended up being one of the most fun events I've ever attended.  Not only was there excellent music all day (including Rush tribute band Limelight and Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction), there was also hiking and rock climbing and swimming and even a little bit of cave exploring.  I took a couple quick photos but for the most part I was too busy enjoying the amazing park to have my phone out!  There were tons of people, and many of them were using substances of all sorts, but for the first time, I didn't feel out of place or nervous or uncomfortable.  I'm learning that it doesn't matter what those people are doing.  I'm there for me, and for the people I choose to spend my time with, not for the people I don't know.  And those people are there for themselves.  I did interact with other people, but it was always pleasant and respectful, making the experience even more enjoyable.

My Saturday culminated in a fantastic Floyd tribute band performance from Several Species, right on the beach at the Ledges.  Pink Floyd is my all-time favorite band, and their music was the perfect soundtrack for the evening.  So many great songs - and a giant flying pig - kept me moving and grooving all night long.  I'm not even sure I have words for the way I felt being a part of that concert...  I definitely won't ever forget it!  The fire dancing on the shore afterwards kept the streaking lights and driving beats alive in my head and heart even after Several Species left the stage, tattooing the whole venture into my soul.

Then today, I came home to an unexpected surprise: a perfectly-timed package from an old favorite!  I've been a huge fan of Sapphire Soul since day one, and it has helped me grow my soulistic side by leaps and bounds over the past months.  Now under the even more fitting name "Soulistic Life", this monthly subscription box continues to blow my mind.  In fact, every new package speaks even more directly to my own soul and situation that I'm starting to wonder if the Universe created these boxes specifically for ME!  Today's surprise is just a small sampler of the May box, which had been called "Go Smudge Yourself With Soul", but even my little taste is amazing and inspirational!  I received a handmade smudge fan, some much-needed stress relief incense, and a piece of dumortierite, all of which will help me cleanse some of the tense energy my busy schedule has created in my home.  After my festival experience taught me to just chill out a little more, this is such an ideal follow-up ritual to perform to keep those good vibes alive!

I'm way late in posting my review of the April Soulistic Life box "Gypsy Magic" (video unboxing here) AND of the April Ashi Box "Goddess Within" (video unboxing here), but every new box I receive from the inspirational ladies who created them always seems to carry a message specifically written for my heart.  Today's Soulistic Life "fortune cookie" was, to use an industry term, "dead-on-balls accurate":
Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.
My divorce is finally over, my career track is heading in a direction that I actually enjoy, I'm pushing myself to do things I never imagined possible...  My life is coming together so wonderfully as a direct result of things that, at the time, felt like the worst possible situation.  All of these constant reminders telling me it's only going to keep getting better?  I'm starting to believe them...

What speaks to YOUR soul?  How has experience changed your perception of something?  How do you live a Soulistic Life of your own?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Creating Consistency

This week, I started marathon training "for real."  I have a plan (sorta) and some loose weekly goals (kinda) but the number one thing I know needs to happen if I'm really going to run a full marathon in October is that I need to increase my consistency.  Running "when I feel like it" was fine when I was starting out and just testing the water.  Now, however, there has to be structure, and there HAS to be consistency.

Fortunately, I've been learning a lot about how to stay more consistent.  While the vast majority of consistency comes from eliminating excuses and simply doing what needs to be done, there are some very simple ways to set yourself up for success.

1. Tracking.  Between Map My Run and my JournalMenu planner, I record every run.  Not just my distance and pace, but notes about how I felt and what I ate and what products I used for nutrition and recovery.  Any trends in your training are much easier to spot when you're looking at a record of them!  So far I've learned that Cocoa Krispies are an excellent pre-run food for me, compression sleeves are perfect for post-run, and I struggle severely when the temperatures are above 80 degrees.  All of this is usable information that can help me train better and more consistently during the next few months.

2. Recovery.  Learning how to recover is vital - it's hard to be consistent if you're always sore, tired, and injured!  I can't tell you how many days I have skipped because of soreness that could have been prevented with proper recovery.  Taking care of yourself can include eating properly, getting enough sleep, practicing self-massage, or even finding the right products to help your aching muscles or bruised feet.  Without recovery, you simply can't bounce back to stay consistent!

3. Positivity.  I cannot stress enough how important having a positive outlook has been for my training.  If you consider every run to be torture, well, why are you even doing it?!  But when you can find the fun in every step, and stay positive even after a tough or flat-out bad run, you'll stick with it longer.  The same can be said of any exercise program: the more you enjoy it and the more positively you look at it, the greater your chances of making it routine and consistent.

With marathon training starting in earnest this week, it's time to put my consistency lessons into practice!  What advice do you have for building a more consistent program and sticking to your planned workouts?  Share it with all of us in the comments!  And as always, check out the Wednesday Word linkup to see how other bloggers create consistency!  Hosted as always by the wonderful Deb Runs, check back every week for another Wednesday Word and a new batch of great posts!

Deb Runs

Monday, June 6, 2016

Home-made Energy Chews - with Hydrus!

I have been dying to try making my own energy chews for ages, so I finally did some research on other recipes and pulled together some things to give it a go!  Yesterday was my third half marathon for the year, and though I know it's not usually a great idea to use an untested fuel source during a race, I tried making these chews with ingredients with which I have ample experience, so I rolled the dice to see how it would go.

I used only four ingredients to make these: unflavored gelatin, pure cane sugar, Hydrus concentrated electrolytes, and plain ol' tap water.  For about half the batch, I also added artificial banana flavoring on top of the lemon-lime flavor of the Hydrus.  You can use any other electrolyte source, but as many of them are powders, I heavily favored the liquid concentrate of the Hydrus as I thought it would mix in better and absorb better when eaten.

I started by mixing a teaspoon of gelatin with three tablespoons of water, just to get the gelatin dissolving a bit while I boiled another 1/3 cup of water.  Once it was boiling I added the gelatin mixture to the hot water, to really get it started - this is the typical way to prepare gelatin.  Once the gelatin granules were thoroughly dissolved, I poured in 1/2 cup of the pure cane sugar, then started the burner again to bring everything up to a low boil.

Keeping the mixture stirred constantly, I boiled it for about 16 minutes until I FINALLY noticed the liquid was starting to gel.  I was worried I had left it on a little too long, but I pulled it off at the first sign of thickening and I think that was a smart move.  Two teaspoons of Hydrus went in as soon as I took it off the heat, and I stirred very quickly before pulling out my mold: a 50 cavity GUMMY BEAR MOLD!  Honestly, I'm so excited about being able to make my own energy chew gummy bears because they're going to be absolutely adorable AND (if all goes well) a great source of mid-run fuel.

The mold comes with an incredibly handy squeeze dropper, so filling the little bear shapes was a snap.  Each dropper-full was enough for four wells, and I got my mold filled quickly before the mixture set any further.  I did stop half-way through the mold to add some banana flavoring to the remaining mixture, just to see if the flavor made any difference.  With all 50 wells filled, I wanted to move the mold directly into the refrigerator, but neglected to put the very flexible mold on a more solid and portable surface!  So I had to let them set a little on the counter before relocating.

Disclaimer: I received the gummy tray at no cost in exchange for mentioning in this post.

A couple hours later: the moment of truth.  I'd checked on the gummies a few times to see if they were setting, and while they had definitely firmed up a bit, every time I checked they were definitely not ready to come out of the mold.  Finally I decided to leave them overnight and check in the morning pre-race.  They'd firmed up enough to not be gooey to the touch, but weren't firm enough to pop out of the mold in any usable fashion!  Instead I had a sticky mess on my hands.

I believe my error was in not heating the sugar mixture long enough.  I had been worried that it wasn't firming up very quickly, then panicked when it finally started to get just a little more thick, and pulled the mixture off the stove right away.  I'm going to be retrying my same recipe this week to see if heating a little longer works better (even though I'm worried I'll end up over cooking my next batch) and will report back on whether the retry is more successful!  STAY TUNED!

What do you use to fuel your runs?  Have you ever made your own fuel?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

When FOMO Strikes

I've been wanting to write a post about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) for a while now, but it wasn't until last night that I found a direction for it.  Our local Fleet Feet stores were hosting an All 4 Run event in beautiful and historic Ohio City in conjunction with Global Running Day, and I had signed up, excited about the event as not only a chance to run a fun scavenger-hunt-style event but also to meet some more runners in the area.  It seemed like a great plan - until I arrived about a half hour before the event was to begin.

The problems I encountered are that I don't actually know many people in Cleveland that would go to an event like this, and these type of events are usually held at bars.  Why are these problems?  Ever gone to a social event without knowing anyone, where everyone arrives in their friend groups or with their significant others, and sat there by yourself?  I'm not exactly a wallflower most of the time (in fact I'm usually in-your-face meeting people) but there wasn't another person there alone besides myself, and when you're in a dark bar by yourself, that's very intimidating.  Or at least, for me it is.  Because then there's that bar portion, with the awful music barely audible beyond the bass-thumping that causes me some health issues, the beer that I don't drink, and the atmosphere that makes approaching a big group of friends incredibly awkward.

Let's not even talk about the disdainful looks people were giving me as I was clearly alone and out of my element.

I left the event after about 10 minutes, and I left in tears that lasted almost the whole way home.  As much as I hated being in that situation and feeling miserable, what I hated even MORE was leaving the event.  Despite the increasingly negative feeling of the situation, I very seriously debated staying.  Not because I thought I'd eventually make a friend or two, but because the event itself had sounded like fun and I was afraid if I left I'd miss out on a unique event.  I would almost rather be miserable and still get the experience than leave and feel more comfortable - so much so that it made me cry.

Handling FOMO is like playing with fire.  I've definitely tried some things that had amazing impacts on my life because of FOMO, but I've also put myself into situations in which I wasn't at all comfortable, and some of those situations have played out very, very badly.  Last night, I was dangerously close to the later, but I fought through the FOMO and tried to make a decision that would ultimately be healthier for my mind and body.  While I strive to have adventures, and FOMO often drives me into great adventures, I also need to remember that not every moment has to be exciting, especially at the expense of my health or mental wellness.

It's worth remembering also that "missing" one thing doesn't mean the end of the world.  So I didn't do the scavenger hunt thing - instead I went home and did a neighborhood run with my puppy when the temperature went down a bit, and hung out with my parents watching baseball and prepping for my brother to visit tonight.  And you know what?  I think I'm okay with "missing out" now.

How do you deal with FOMO?  Have you ever had an amazing experience brought about by pure FOMO?  What about an awful experience?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Global Running Day: A Look Into My Miles

Today is Global Running Day!  I'm joining other runners and bloggers for a unique linkup today that looks at how running has worked its way into my life and how I build on my running hobby.  Check out the interview below, but also be sure to visit the Running Day page and pledge some miles for yourself!  And of course, visit our linkup host Jonesin' For A Run to see interviews with other bloggers!

Why do you run?

Honestly, I started running to literally run away from my problems.  The first time I ever laced up my shoes and hit the pavement on a whim was the morning after my husband cheated on me.  I didn't know what else to do, so I ran.  The anger and hurt fueled my running for a few months, but then I caught "the bug".  Maybe it was the excitement of my first couple races, which included a zombie run, a trail race, and a color run, or maybe it was because the activity was making me feel so much more positive and alive during a tough time, but I stuck with it and the desire to keep my feet moving grew.  Now I run because I love it, for all the many wonderful things running has brought into my life.

How do you plan to celebrate Global Running Day?

Uh, by running, DUH!  The local Fleet Feet stores (which partner with my racing company) are hosting an "All 4 Run" event in downtown Cleveland, and I intend to be there with them!

How many miles have you run so far this year? Do you have a mileage goal for 2016?

After a quick run last night, I am at 113 miles for the year - which means I will BLOW AWAY any previous year!  I don't set mileage goals because my life and schedule are so unpredictable, but with marathon training (and my first marathon) coming up, I have the feeling I'll be doubling my mileage quickly, if not tripling!

What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

Well there's that marathon thing...  Marine Corps will be my first full, so I guess that's pretty big!  I'm also about to hit my third half of the year in a few days, which will actually be my third half in 90 days, qualifying me for the Half Fanatics, which seems pretty big too!

Before I leave for a run I must have...

My GPS going, my favorite running belt hooked up, and either some awesome tunes (if I'm running by myself) or my puppy!  She's doing better and better on the runs (except for the super hot days, when we take it easy) and she's always excited to be out there with me!

Do you track your runs? If so, what do you use?

I use Map My Run and am never without it!  I'm constantly trying to improve, and monitoring progress is a big deal.  Setbacks aren't really as devastating as I thought they'd be - there's usually a good reason for a run to be much slower than usual, and now that I'm combining my Map My Run info with a JournalMenu for more prolific notes, keeping track of all the factors that went into even a bad run shows me more room for opportunity.

Who is your favorite running partner?

That's easy: my puppy!

What races have you run so far this year?

So far I've run three 5k races and two half marathons - and I've hit a PR at each distance!  The Arnold 5k, in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival, kicked off my year and my solid time set me up for that 5k PR at the Eagles on Foot race a little closer to home.  This past weekend I ran a much slower (and MUCH hotter) race at May in Bay, but still enjoyed the run and learned a little about running in the heat.  My first half this year was on the Towpath in a random snowpocalypse, and the weather didn't get much better for the Cleveland Rite Aid half, but even in every kind of nasty weather imaginable, I still pulled in a PR.  It may only have been by a hair, but it still counts, and makes me wonder what I could have done in better conditions!

If you have to give someone one piece of advice about running, what would it be?

Start today, and don't give up tomorrow.  I always HATED running - before I started doing it.  Every time I have another great run, I kick myself for not having started earlier.  Don't make excuses.  Lacing up and pounding pavement is incredible, and you'll never know until you try.  There will be bad days too, and it might be really hard in the beginning, but the changes running can make in your life and for your health and wellness are worth every struggling step.

Describe your relationship with running in one word.

CAREER.  Since my first run, my love of the sport, and maybe more specifically my love of the industry of running, has shaped my past few years.  I've found so much love in running that I've taken every step possible to make a career for myself in the running world, and here I am working as a race manager, spending every day of my life interacting with runners and racing.  It's amazing and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Alright, I spilled my beans, what about you??  Answer any of the questions above in the comments, and be sure to tell me how YOU plan to celebrate Global Running Day!