Category Archives: Races

A Fun Week

Do you ever find it strange how one week will feel like it lasts for three weeks and another week feels like it flew by in two day?  This week was a total 180 degree difference from the previous week.  Last week was beyond sucky and took forever to end.  This week has been amazing, fun, and flew by.

My favorite day this week had to be Wednesday, because it was a fun filled day with my son.  Wednesday was the first day of his spring break, so he wanted to go to the gym with me to run and swim.  He is a bit of a gym rat like his mom.  It takes us an hour to get to the gym I work at, so we always spend that time talking and I always find that I learn something new from him during our car trips.  For example, I asked my son to tell me something interesting…His response, “Did you know that sardines and sea horses burp?”  See…I can always learn something new from my kid.

St. Baldricks

Once we got to the gym, Web ran upstairs to hit the track to run his St. Baldricks Virtual Race.  He has been beyond excited to run this race for weeks now.   Since my 7 year old kid is now faster than I am, he was kind enough to slow down his pace so mom could keep up with him.  I really could not be prouder of my son.  He is such an amazing kid and athlete, and I’m so glad that he loves running and finds it fun and exciting right now.

Big Time Bistro

After his run and swimming we headed to downtown Minot to Big Time Bistro for lunch with Rita and Devin.  Big Time Bistro has become my new favorite restaurant, and I cannot get enough of this place.  Rita has been telling us how amazing their burgers are, so my son got one of their cheese burgers, and I got my favorite chicken bruschetta sandwich.  Our meals came with fresh made potato chips too!

With our stomachs full  of yummy food, we headed off to Barnes and Noble to look for books.  My son found a neat little book full of weird animal facts which he read to me during our drive home.  I was learning a lot from this new book during our ride, until I discovered I needed to start reading the books my son wants before he buys them. 

Here is what happened…

“Mom, here is one about pigs…A pig’s organism lasts for 30 minutes.  Wait, that doesn’t make any sense.  What do they mean by organism?”  You can only imagine the look on my face as I began to realize that my son pronounced orgasm as organism.  I gave him my standard response when I don’t want to give him a truthful answer, “I don’t know what they meant.  I’ll have to look it up later when I get a chance.”  Thankfully he forgets about me looking things up most of the time.  I had him put the book down till we got home and could read it together.  I’ll leave you with a few interesting animal facts to share with your friends…

  • Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (Real Quickies, They should talk to the pig)
  • A hippos milk is pink
  • Turtles can breath through their butts…My son’s new favorite fact
  • Polar bears are left handed
  • Cattle are the only mammals to pee backwards
  • You are more likely to get attacked by a cow than a shark
  • The animal responsible for the most human deaths worldwide is the mosquito.
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Saturday Shares

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I’m just about to head off to do the Burpee Mile with Rita.  I’m a little nervous about how I’m going to do, but I’m going to try my hardest.  As for Rita, she is just amazing, so I know she will complete the mile, while proving that women can be fit and strong at any age! 

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April Showers Virtual 5K and Half Marathon is a special race to help raise funds for a special little girl.  She is a special needs child that is living in an orphanage in China, and she is 8 years old and will age out of the orphanage soon.  The adoptive family is hosting this race to help raise funds for their soon-to-be daughters adoption.  Please say you will help this family and little girl out.

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The Florida Beach Halfathon can be run on-site or virtually.  I ran their last virtual race, and the medal I got was amazing and huge!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes…and guess what other ingredient is in them…Carrots!!  Can you believe it!?!  I cannot wait to give these babies a try.  However, I’m going to change one part of the recipe…They say to use premade/store bought icing.  That stuff is toxic, so I’ll make my own.

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion, and Applewood Bacon from Café Sucre Farine looks delicious.  I saw this and immediately wanted to try it since it is so different.  You should check out their other pizza recipes…they look absolutely yummy!

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Got crayons?  Who doesn’t!  Here are 35 Uses for Crayons! They’re not just for coloring!  Create crafty things, be artsy, and even do activities with crayons!

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She Rocks Fitness has come up with a circuit that will help tone your body. Go to her sight to get the rest of this Work It Off Wednesday workout!

Virtual Recap…Can I Become a Runner?

virtual races

As you can see from the picture above, I’ve run or walked a few virtual races in the past month.  Except for the the March Against ALS/Shamrocks for Shannon race.  That one is for next month, but I wanted to share a pic of the medal since it already came in the mail.

Last weekend my son and I did the virtual run for Kyle’s Krusade together.  When I told him Kyle’s story and why we were running for him he asked if we could do an extra mile for him.  I just love my kid.  I think it is important for us as adults/parents to teach our children to be humanitarians early on.  I want my son to think about others, their situations, and what he can do to help them rather than waiting for someone else to do it.  My grandparents taught me to help others at an early age, and it has stuck with me thoughout my life.  My son also wants to find more races for kids with cancer, so he can help them in some way.  We have the St. Baldricks Virtual Race race coming up in March to help children with cancer.

In the past few weeks I have also completed the Sandy Hook Memorial 5K , Chilly Cheeks Virtual 5K , and the Northern Lights 5K.  Now, I’m feeling a bit guilty about these “races”, because I didn’t really train or put my “all” into them.  I almost want to put them aside until I can really “run” them and be proud of my times.  I know this sounds pathetic, but I’m not happy with my running time for these races, and I want a redo.  Plus I have quite a few more virtual races this month and the next few months.

Actually, I’m not happy with my running period.  I’m frustrated that I can teach multiple Spinning classes a day totaling over 40 miles, and not be able to run a decent 3 miles.  I know part of it comes from having to run on a treadmill and not outside, but I still need to get my butt into gear.  Maybe I should pay some Girl Scouts to chase me with cookies.  That might motivate me a bit more.

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Since, I’m determined to run my first half marathon this year, and I need help, motivation, and someone to help me figure out my training schedule that will work with all the Spinning classes I teach, I have gotten myself a running coach/trainer.  Jen aka The Marathon Mom is my new running coach!  The poor woman has her work cut out with me.  We begin my quest to become a “happy” distance runner on March 1st.  I won’t lie to you…I’m nervous.  Mostly, I don’t want to let her down, and I don’t want to discover that somewhere along the line I stopped enjoying running (right now it is a chore).  Wish me luck!  I’m gonna need it.

Do you find that running becomes more “mental” than physical for you at times?

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY I have going on for an autographed copy of the New York Times Best Seller, The Fault in our Stars by John Green! Today is the last day to enter.  I could not put this book down once I started it!!  Honestly, it was such an amazing story!

My First Race After Cancer

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Last week Carrie at Family, Fitness, and Food wrote about her very first race.  She then asked others to share their first race stories.  My first 5K wasn’t a big deal, and I can’t even find the pictures from it…This was back in the day before digital cameras.  However, my first race back after my mastectomy was a big first in quite a few ways for me.

I found out that I had to have a mastectomy in June of 2007 at the ripe old age of 27.  My first surgery (there are a total of 3 surgeries when you have a mastectomy) was scheduled for August 27th.  In this first surgery, they remove your breasts and place expanders in your chest to slowly inflate your boobs for the next cosmetic surgery.  Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about this, but I like to look on the bright side of things…That being that I will never have saggy boobs!  I’m gonna be one “perky” grandma someday, if you catch my drift Winking smile!

The tumors I had (all 31 of them) were caused by hormone problems.  Any abnormal changes to my hormones (which can be caused by the unnatural ingredients in our food) will cause my body to react in this tumor forming way.  All my doctors sat down with me and explained what I would need to do for the rest of my life, which is mainly staying away from bad ingredients in food and anything else that will change my body’s normal hormone levels.

Therefore, it was time for a massive change in our home.  No more food with crap in it!  I also wanted to set a recovery goal for myself after my second cosmetic surgery, so I signed up for the Minnie Marathon Weekend 5K at Epcot on May 3rd.  This was the last year for the Minnie Marathon Weekend, and the Princess Half Marathon Weekend would take it’s place the next year.  I hadn’t set a goal for myself in anyway for quite a few years, and it felt so good to make this 5K my recovery goal.

After my recovery from my second surgery, February 18, 2008, I got out there and started running again in preparation for my 5K in May.  It felt so good to be on the road to recovery and healthy again!P5030496

On May 8th I headed over to Epcot for my first race post mastectomy.  It was a perfect cool May morning, and everyone was in such a happy mood.  Once the race began my mind started to wander…like it always does.  I started thinking about how after this race everything was going to be different.  It made me feel like I was starting over again and making an amazing start to another chapter in my life.  No more chemicals in our foods,  becoming more aware of my health and my family’s health, educating others on the causes of breast cancer, making goals for myself, and making sure I stay active with my son for the rest of my life.  I finished that race with a smile on my face, and a new and better outlook on my life.

What is your most memorable race?

Workout Wednesday

Wanna run a 5K and have a great time with the girls?  You do!  Then, I have got the race for you!  Check out the Pretty Muddy 5K.  It is a fun filled, obstacle (optional) course filled run, with NO MEN allowed!

There are so many awesome obstacles on this course.  They are completely optional…the muddy ones are optional too, but with an obstacle called “Better Than a Dirty Martini” (see above video) why wouldn’t you want to do it!?!  I know I will be, and I would love for you to join me in this totally fun 5K.

Here are the Pretty Muddy dates and locations so far, and they are still adding on more locations!

June 1 – Dallas, TX
June 29 – Sacramento, CA
September 7 – Chicago, IL
September 14 – Columbus, OH
September 28 – Richmond, VA
October 12 – Atlanta, GA
November 30 – Tampa, FL
December 7 – Miami, FL

Here is a great discount code for a one time $20 discount coupon code GIRLTIME that expires on January 31st, so sign up now for a race near you! Here is a step-by-step guide for using your discount code:

First click on the event you want to register for using the links. You should see this:

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Click on the pink link that says “Enter promotional code” – It brings up a box you can type in.

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Type GIRLTIME and hit apply.  Then, enter the quantity and hit register.

Workout Wednesday 2

It is Workout Wednesday, so it is time to get our workout on!  This is based off of an old CrossFit workout of the day that I have done in the past.  Well, the running part is.  The original workout was to run for 1/2 mile, 75 sit-ups, 50 kettlebells, and 50 squats.  I’ve added a link to an example of the lunges with shoulder press.  Remember to stretch when you are done!

Just a Little Crossfit

Jill Conyers Answers Your Questions – Part 2

We are taking a quick break from Clean Eating this week for Part 2 of Jill Conyers Guest Post!  Today Jill has all your answers to the questions you asked her earlier in the month.  Thank you Jill for taking the time to answer all our running and fitness questions.  If you didn’t get a chance, check out Part 1 of Jill’s Guest Post.

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Andrea’s readers submitted great questions that cover a variety of running topics. Whether you’re new to running or have been running awhile knowledge is progress and improved running performance. There are so many things I wish I would have known when I started running.

If you can’t tell, I like talking about running as much as the running itself.

Question #1. I’m a “somewhat” beginning runner. What can I do to get a faster pace? I seem to be stuck at a 12 min pace. If you google this question you’ll get a million+ recommendations and tried and true techniques. Based on my experience, I saw the most improvement in my pace when I:

1. Strength. 2-3 days of consistent strength training every week.

2. Flexiblity. At least 1 day of yoga a week. The stress reducing benefits of yoga is a bonus.

3. Speedwork. At least 1 day of speedwork every week with a variety including intervals and tempo runs. Track intervals are my favorite type of training run! For more information on the benefits of speedwork check out Adding Speedwork to Training.

4. Stretching. After a run and almost nightly whether I’ve run or not.

5. Core Strength. Core strengthening exercises improve form and function for running.

6. Fueled to Run. Make sure you’re fueling your body with the quantity and quality it needs to support your level of activity.

7. Rest. 1 or even 2 (depending on your weekly mileage) total rest days every week can make the difference between just to training and fabulous and productive training.

Question #2. I have done 3 half marathons up to this point using the run/walk method. I run between 4-8 minutes then walk 1 min. depending on where in the 13 miles I am and how good I am feeling. I want to boost the amount of running time. In addition to a couple halves I would like to get 1 marathon next fall. Now sidelined due to a torn meniscus. When I start training back up after my surgery what can I do to up my running portion? First and foremost take the time to fully recover from your injury. Returning to running too soon or trying to return at your pre-surgery distance and pace can cause you to reinjure yourself and/or prolong a full recovery. When you’re 100% recovered refer to the question below about increasing mileage.

Question #3. Do you take supplements since you run long distances and lift weights? I lift weights 4-5 days a week and take supplements, but I want to start getting into running and run my first 5K in 2013. Will the supplements I’m taking (protein, bcaa) hinder my running? The supplements I take are not running specific. The vitamins I take and nutritional supplements (protein powder and Spirulina) are based on overall health and consultation with my doctor. With a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and being relatively new to a vegan diet I consulted with my doctor (Internal Medicine) ensure the major change in my diet were not causing vitamin deficiencies. I take multivitamin, calcium, Vitamin D, and Flax Oil (vitamin) daily. I also use protein powder up to 2x/day and Spirulina several days per/week. While I’ve never heard of or read that protein supplements hinder running, consulting with a doctor will likely give you the information you’re looking for.

Question #4. I’d love to hear her thoughts on the best way to build to a half marathon distance. I currently can run 3-4 miles without a problem, but I feel overwhelmed trying to increase that to 13.1! Feeling overwhelmed is to be expected. You’re asking your body to run more than 13 miles!

1. You need to have built a base. When I ran my first half marathon I found that most half marathon training plans assumed that you’ve built a weekly mileage base of at least 15-20 miles. Your longest run should also be at least 5 miles.

2. Choose a plan. There are unlimited books and online resources for half marathon training plans. Plans range from about 10-16 weeks. For my first my preference was the 16 week plan. The extra time ensured that I would have more than enough time to gradually build up to running longer distances and it gave me a little wiggle room for setbacks or interruptions in training.

3. Train with intention and purpose. To get the most out of your training runs use a variety of different types of runs each with a purpose. When I train for a race with the goal being pace I follow a plan that includes speed work on a track, tempo runs, and long runs.

4. Cross train. Add a few days of little to no impact exercises to maximize your running fitness. In addition to running, I strength train 3 days/week and, ideally, I’m able to add a day of yoga.

5. Find a running buddy or group! The motivation of not doing this alone is invaluable. You’re much more likely to commit and stick with training with the support and accountability of running friends. I’m fortunate to have my ultra-running husband as my running buddy.

6. Lastly, and quite possibly the most important for performance and reducing your risk of injury, rest! Your body needs time to rebuild and repair. Skipping rest days make it difficult for your body to recover and make you more prone to injury.

Question #5. How many miles do you think you have run in your lifetime? Hmmm…about 9000 miles! I’ve been running about 6.5 years and I run about 800-1000 miles every year. In 2012 I ran 1081.5 miles and in 2011 I ran 833.88 miles. So, I’ve run approximately 8000 miles in the 6.5 years I’ve been running.

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Question #6. When did you start running and what motivated you? Blog link. I wanted to prove to myself that I was more than a wife and a mom. I started running in 2006 with the goal of running my first race, The Grape Stomp Half Marathon. I was inspired to start running by my husband running his first race and meeting Ultramarathon Man, Dean Karnazes. The motivation to continue is what I am teaching my kids by my actions and how running makes me feel invincible. Running makes me feel like I can do anything!

Question #7. What challenges have you overcome in order to keep on moving? I overcame the frustration of being injured. The emotional frustration of not being able to run for an extended period of time and feeling like I was totally starting over when I returned to running was a mental and physical challenge. The mental challenge was the more difficult of the 2. Recovering from 3 non-running related surgeries in 2010 was a test of determination. I’d say I passed the test! I came back in 2012 to run 28 races including 1 ultra (31 miles), my first relay and 12 half marathons. Generally speaking, sometimes the day to day life of a mom of 2 very active teens and a wife that works full time presents challenges to consistent running and workouts. My family will always, undoubtedly, be my first priority. I determine my priorities and set goals to make everything else possible.

Thank you Andrea for having me as a guest on your blog!

ChadJill

I’m a wife, mom of 2, full-time psychologist, Swiftwick, FitFluential, Fit Approach and Girl Gone Sporty Ambassador that is passionate about running, plant-based nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I believe living a healthy life is not about perfection. It’s about commitment, effort and progress!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jillconyers@gmail.com

You can also find me at:


I am not a licensed nutritionist, dietician or fitness trainer. I’m simply a healthy and fitness enthusiast who enjoys sharing information, experiences and ideas. Views expressed in this article are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues, or before beginning a training program.

Lets Run Friday

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What a great week it has been for learning more about running, how to become a better runner, and how to stay fit as a runner.  Jill and Jen are so kind to share their knowledge with us, and we still have another post coming from Jill with the answers to the rest of the questions y’all asked her!

I did a bit of running myself this week.  On Wednesday I completed my Fairy in Training 5K along with my son who did his Superhero Kids Run.  These were both virtual runs, so I could choose the distance I wanted my son to run.  I figured a mile would be great for him, so after he finished his swimming lesson on Wednesday (he swam quite a bit of laps for 30 minutes), we headed upstairs to do a mile together (I had run 2 miles during his swimming lesson, so that I could complete the rest of my 5K while my son did his run).

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We got to the upstairs track, and my son broke out into a fast run (well fast for me).  I reminded him that he should pace himself and not go super fast to begin with.  He then looked up at me and said, “But super fast is my natural pace.”  I told him to go ahead and go for it.  I figured he would peter out fast and learn his lesson.  Instead, I learned that my son can run a 9:08 mile while his mom is huffing and puffing behind him praying that she won’t die before the mile is over.  Mommy learned her lesson!

Have any of your kids reached the point that they are now faster than you?

As for my run today…well, we are suppose to have a blizzard start-up today.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get to the gym to teach my cycling class and get my own workout in.  If I can, I’ll hit the treadmill or indoor track and do a 4 min jog and 1 min walk, and try to build up more endurance.  I also have my Best Body Bootcamp workout to get in today too.  This round of workouts are amazing!  Thank you Tina!

What is your workout for today?

Since we are talking about running this week, I figured I would share some more virtual races and a totally awesome race that are open for registration.  So far, I have all the races I’ve signed up for listed on my 13 Races in 2013 page.

Pretty Muddy Women's Mud Run

Pretty Muddy Woman’s Mud Run:

  • 5k Course (3.1 miles, run or walk)
  • Women Only (sorry, guys)
  • Mud (lots of it)
  • Architectural Obstacles (much better than shabby hay bales and shaky plywood)
  • Pretty Epic Finish Line Party (entertainment, music, drinks & celebration galore)

This race just looks like so much fun, and I want to do it so badly!  Just check out the obstacles on their site.  There is an obstacle called Better than a Dirty Martini, and it looks like a ton of fun.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to an obstacle with that name!?!  Sadly there is not one near me…yet (I would fly to one too).  They are still adding more locations for their races this year, so keep checking back with them!

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St. Baldricks Virtual Race – My son and I will both be running this virtual race in March. You can chose from the 5k, 10k, & 13.1 race registration is $25 and gets you a personalized race bib, swag bag, and custom finishers medal. 1 mile kids fun run registration is $10 and gets you a custom finishers certificate. Join this St. Baldrick’s event, and whether you decide to run, walk or crawl, we hope you’ll be a part of the excitement. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Get involved and you’ll be giving hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers.

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Kyle’s Krusade Virtual 5K, 10K and Half Marathon – The Kyle’s Krusade Virtual race is to benefit Kyle O’Connor, a 6 year old boy fighting cancer, and his family. Read Kyle’s story HERE.  Kyle’s Krusade Virtual 5K, 10K and Half Marathon is a race anyone, anywhere can participate in. You can walk, run, push a stroller, do it with a group or by yourself. The registration for this event is $10 a distance, you can sign up for one, two, or all three distances. 100% of your entry fee will go to The Talbert Family Foundation’s Kyle’s Krusade fund. In turn, to assist with the exorbitant costs associated with having a child with Cancer, they give 100% of their donations directly to the O’Connor family.  There are prizes for the runners which will be given out at random to participants — the more you race, the more chances to win!

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Shamrocks for Shannon – Run before March 29th. This virtual event honors her memory by raising money to support the Curt and Shonda Schilling ALS Clinic at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts. Its mission is to provide care and support to ALS patients and their families.

MAD MARCH ON CANCER  Virtual 5K & Half Marathon  to benefit...

Mad March on Cancer Virtual 5k and Half Marathon – Put on your wildest hat, get your Mad Hatter on and run either a 5k or a half marathon! You choose the location, you choose your pace. You can even do it at once or split it up over a few days. We just ask that you finish your run between March 15-24.  Cost is $30/person and includes a personalized bib and awesome finisher’s medal. As an extra bonus, we’ll throw in the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing that you’re making a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.