Category Archives: Running

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.

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.


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


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?

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.


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.


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!


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

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


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).


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!


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.


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!


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.

For the Beginner Runner–Guest Post by Jen, The Marathon Mom


Today’s post comes from Jen, The Marathon Mom.  Jen is a RRCA certified run coach and NASM certified personal trainer working with both in person and virtually training clients of all levels to complete their first 5K or set a PR at a marathon.  If you have never thought about a running coach or trainer, I highly suggest you do!  Jen is a wealth of knowledge, and she can get you where you want to be in the running game! 


I think I am asked at least daily for running advice whether it be from those wanting to start running or those wanting to improve. Recently I’ve had many questions from friends and family training for their first races. I love sharing my passion for running and hope I can pass this on to others too. I thought about the most frequent questions I am asked and decided to put together a list,

When do I start to like running? I think this is the most frequent question and I always hate to say “there are some days I still hate running!” For me the key is to take it easy some days and push myself other days, enjoy the surroundings while out and savor the victories whether this is running that 1st mile or a PR. Like anything new it takes work and does get easier, I still remember when 3 miles was a chore and now I can’t remember the last time I wanted to stop after 3 miles.

Along the same lines: When does it get easier? Everyone is different, but you need to listen to your body and not feel that you need to push right away or on every run. Like I said above it is something new and will get better. Remember it took us more than 1 step to learn to walk.

How do I motivate myself? Sign up for a race to have a goal and soak in the excitement of the race atmosphere. Find friends or a group to run with, making that commitment to others is motivation to get started and it is always nice to have company in tough times to push us further, then go out for coffee afterwards. Listen to music, buy new running clothes and enjoy the fact that you will feel better and have more energy.

What happens when I skip a run? Listen to your body and if you aren’t feeling it, having pain or need a short break then don’t run. Missing one run of the training will not hurt you, do not make this a routine but don’t be afraid to rest a sore leg, sleep in when you are sick or shorten a run. If something doesn’t feel right and your stride changes then don’t run through it, do something else (swim, bike, elliptical) and see how it feels later.

And finally don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Compete and push yourself to improve while accepting that things happen, life gets in the way and we all have bad days. Learn from these and work through them. Remember we are all different and can’t compare ourselves to someone with different talents and abilities. Work to improve on what you can do and have done, not what others can do.

How do you find time to run as a mom? Before I was a mom I was told so many times “just wait you will stop running.” That didn’t happen and I knew it wouldn’t. It takes time management and some compromise. I often workout early in the morning (4am during the week), take advantage of nap time and hit the treadmill at home or the gym childcare is a great benefit. Take the kid with you running, for us it was the only way I was guaranteed a nap the 1st year! But now we look at animals, stop at the park and I get a complete workout. We schedule long runs, sometimes splitting days and other times splitting BOB duty. I might sacrifice an extra hour of sleep or time to read or clean the house for a run, but it makes me a better mother and everyone is much happier.

What are the best shoes? Don’t buy what is cute or the brand your friend has. Go to a running store for a proper shoe fitting and don’t be afraid to take them back if they don’t work after a run (most stores around here are fine if they are slightly worn). Please don’t wear that pair of shoes you bought 5 years ago for step class. Most complaints I hear from new runners is that their legs, knees, feet hurt and then I find out they are wearing bad shoes, such a simple solution to prevent frustration.

I have been running about 10 years and was instantly hooked. I have come a long way from those first steps and my first marathon (Disney 2003) where I finished 5:20 to consistently running 3:30 marathons and running competitively. I learned to love the sport and train right. I have coached runners of all abilities for the past 5 years and love it! I am a RRCA certified run coach and NASM certified personal trainer working with both in person and virtually training clients of all levels to complete their first 5K or set a PR at a marathon.

Check out my running, food, and parenting adventures at:

Strong Legs for Workout Wednesday

Before we get to the meat of this post, I was hoping you would take a minute and send thoughts and/or prayers for my friend Kim tonight or tomorrow morning.  She will be having surgery on her knee Thursday morning.  Thank you!

I am dedicating each week this month to healthier living (as if I don’t already do that), but with a focus on different areas of health each week.  This week I have dedicated to running for beginners and for those who have been running forever.  Next week is clean eating with a guest blog post from The Clean Eating Geek!


Tomorrow’s post will be from Jen The Marathon Mom.  Jen is a RRCA certified run coach and NASM certified personal trainer working with both in person and virtually training clients of all levels to complete their first 5K or set a PR at a marathon, and she has a great post for us beginning runners and experienced runners tomorrow.  Obviously, I’ve had a sneak peek at her post, and I’m taking every bit of information and applying it to my running.  I know it will help me a ton.  By the way, I know I’m being a total snot for baiting you like this Smile with tongue out.

Workout Wednesday

Today’s workout is designed to give you strong running legs, or just strong legs in general.  I have taken the exercises Jill Conyers gave us on Monday and put them into a workout along with some other great leg strengthening exercises.  For this workout you will be doing supersets.  Each superset consists of 2 exercises. Do 3 sets of each super set before moving on to the next (each superset is in a white rectangle). In between each superset is an optional short core exercise section. Remember to stretch after your workout!

Jill Conyers Guest Post–Part 1!!


Today’s post is comes from Jill Conyers!  This post deals with helping you stay injury free as a runner.  In her next guest post (part 2) Jill will have the answers to the rest of the amazing questions everyone asked.

Guest Post by Jill Conyers

People seem to often think running is synonymous with knee problems. I have been running since 2006 and I am happy to say I’ve been knee-problem and pain free. My husband is an ultra runner (he runs distances beyond 26.2) who started running in 2005. He has stayed almost entirely injury free! Knees included!

Based on my experience and research, running does not automatically mean you’re going to have knee problems. My advice? Do what you can to avoid injury and stay healthy overall including your knees. What I mean is train smart.

  • based on your where you are with your running have a plan and follow it
  • don’t over train.
  • REST!
  • cross train
  • strength train

I was specifically asked about how to strengthen your knees for running. I’m not aware of any exercises that can strengthen the knee specifically but there are exercises that can be done to strengthen the surrounding muscles (the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles) and help prevent knee and other running related injuries.

Use the following simple leg exercises to begin your lower-body strengthening program:

Bodyweight Squats (Muscle: Quadriceps):

1. Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your toes turned out slightly. Your hands are by your sides with your palms facing inward. Pull the shoulders down your back toward your hips.

2. Engage your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize your spine. Keep your chest lifted and your chin parallel to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels as your hips begin to push toward the wall behind you.

3. Begin the downward phase by hinging at the hips, shifting them back and down. Your hips and knees bend simultaneously. As you lower your hips the knees bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Prevent your knees from extending forward past the toes. Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and your back flat.

4. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Avoid dropping your hips below your knees.

5. Keep the knees aligned with the second toe and body weight evenly distributed between the balls and heels of both feet. If you can view this from the side, your shinbone should be parallel with your torso and the low back should appear flat or may be showing the beginning of some rounding.

6. While maintaining the position of your back, chest and head and with the abdominals engaged, exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together. Keep the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned with the second toe.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl (Muscle: Hamstring)

1. Lie on your back on a mat, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a stability ball . Your feet should be lined up with your hips and your toes pulled slightly toward the ceiling. Gently contract your abdominal/core muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Try to hold this gentle contraction throughout the exercise. Extend your arms out to your sides with palms turned to the floor to help stabilize your body during the exercise.

2. Gently exhale. Keeping the abdominals engaged, lift your hips up off the floor. Press the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball for additional stability. Do not lift the hips so high that the low back begins to arch. Your abdominal contraction will also help avoid excessive arching in the low back. Continue to press upwards until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulder blades.

3. Exhale. Slowly bend your knees and pull the ball toward your hips until you can rest the soles of the your feet on top of the ball. Your toes may point away from your body in this movement. The hips will continue to lift as you pull the ball toward your hips. Keep the torso stable.

4. Inhale. Slowly press the ball away from your hips until the knees are straight, stabilizing with the core, hamstrings, glutes and arms. Repeat for a prescribed number of repetitions and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position.

Calf Raises (Muscle: Calves)

1. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, side-by-side, with your toes pointed forward or slightly outward. Shift your weight over your heels.

2. Exhale and slowly raise your heels off the floor, allowing your entire body leaning slightly forward to maintain balance. Do not lose your alignment, especially in the hips and low back. Keep your knees straight and abdominals strong. Continue rising until your weight is on the balls of your feet. Hold this position briefly.

3. Inhale and slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels and stand up tall.

Glute Bridge (Muscle: Hips)

1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Attempt to maintain this gentle muscle contraction throughout the exercise.

2. Gently exhale. Keep the abdominals engaged and lift your hips up off the floor. Press your heels into the floor for added stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high, which can cause hyperextension (arching) in your low back. Keeping your abdominals strong helps to prevent excessive arching in the low back.

3. Inhale and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.

Final Notes:

Start with 1 set (8 reps) of each move gradually increasing reps and/or sets as you get stronger. If that is too much decrease the number of reps and gradually build up to 8. If you’re fitness level means 8 reps was too easy increase the reps to 10 or increase the number of sets. Most importantly start from where you are!

Start with strength training 2 days per week. Increase to 3 days if time permits and as get stronger.

Lastly, keep track of your strength training. Nothing motivates more than seeing the numbers that show your progress.

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

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.

A Big Day

Today is such a big day, and I have several things to tell you about!!

First…the winner of the The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Days DVD is…..drum roll…Amanda Tipton!!!  Congrats Amanda!!  You will love the book and DVD.  They are among my favorites!  Also, look for an email from me this afternoon!


Second, Jill Conyers will be guest hosting on Monday.  Jill will be answering the questions about how to strength train and avoid injury for runners.  Then, Jill has had also Graciously (note the capital “G”) offered to guest host again to answer the rest of the amazing questions everyone had.  I loved all the questions everyone had, and so did Jill, so she is kindly hanging around to post again.  I honestly cannot thank her enough for helping us beginning and experienced runners.  I’m throwing myself in the beginner category, and everyone asked questions that I also had!


Third…It is a birthday day in our house!!!  Little Tilly is turning 1 year old today!!!  Tilly is our sweetheart that we fostered with RAGOM, and then we ended up adopting her.  I would like to make a quick plea for other dogs out there in need of a home…If you are ever looking to get a dog, please check out your local shelter, or go online and look up “dog rescue groups”.  RAGOM is a rescue group that I volunteer with, and they, like other similar groups, place dogs in “foster homes” until they find their “forever home” and are adopted.  Our lab, Lady, is also a rescue dog from Florida, and she is amazing.  So, instead of going to a pet store (which gets its puppies from horrible puppy mills) look into saving a wonderful puppy or dog at your local shelter or from your local rescue group.


Back to the birthday girl…My goal was to make frosty paws and dog treats on Wednesday and have a write up for you with the recipes, but since we didn’t have any water, and I had to spend my day melting snow for water, I didn’t get a chance to make her birthday treats.  So, we are doing the doggie birthday baking on Saturday.  Tilly is still getting more stuffed toys to destroy, and all 3 dogs are getting Kongs filled with peanut butter and carrots!  Happy Birthday Tilly!!!

And speaking of water….We now have running water.  Never in my life did I think I would be so happy to flush a toilet regularly!  No more melting snow on the stove for me!!!  Well, at least not until this happens again.

It is workout time!  Here is the treadmill workout I did the other day at the gym.  Time flew by with this workout since I was so busy keeping and eye on my time and changing speeds.  I didn’t add an incline for this workout, but feel free to add a hill or two in there for yours!  Hope you enjoy it, and remember to stretch!
30 Min Treadmill no incline

Workout Wednesday


I love this quote, because it is very true.  If I have to take off working out on a regular workout day I go nuts.  My body craves the workout, and yours will too!

Resolution Run

I started the New Year off with a 5K yesterday.  It was my New Years Resolution Run hosted by For the Love of the Kids.   I had to do my 5K at the gym on a treadmill since it was a wonderful 13 degrees out with crazy winds.  My run started off great, my breathing was perfect, and everything felt great.  Then, at 2 miles my right butt cheek cramped up on me, and to make things even more fun, a couple of seconds later my right boob started cramping (since my mastectomy, my chest muscles like to cramp up out of nowhere).  I can only imagine how amazing I looked trying to nonchalantly massage out my cramps in my boob and butt.  Thankfully there was less than a mile to go, so I slowly jogged to the imaginary finishline on my treadmill.  It wasn’t the greatest run, but I loved starting out the year with one of my 13 in 2013 races and one of my 5 by the 5th races!


Guess what is back in season!?!  Cara Cara oranges and Sugar Belles!!  These are my favorite oranges, and they are beyond sweet.  I have been eating at least 3 a day.  They are just that good!  I highly suggest you head down to your local grocery store and grab some today.

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises - Paperback

Today is the last day you can enter the Giveaway I have going on along with your opportunity to post questions for Jill Conyers to answer in her guest post on January 7th!

Workout Wednesday

This workout is mostly done on a stability ball, so you will be using your core to help keep your body balanced.  There are links below for 2 new workout moves I have not posted before.  If you are unsure about how to do any of the other exercises, check my Exercise Term Glossary Page.  You will complete 3 rounds of this circuit with 60 second recoveries between each exercise.  Remember to stretch after!

Shoulder Chest and Tricep Circuit