Fundraising for a great cause!

When you have time, check out a couple great bloggers raising funds for fabulous causes!

Michel @ Baby Weight My Fat Ass is fundraising for Train 4 Autism to run the Chicago Marathon with her husband in honor of her daughter Avery who was diagnosed with Autism. Please check out her raffle HERE for prizes like Allied Steel displays, sweaty bands, fuel belt, Road ID, Spibelt, & One more Mile!

Kayla @ Running: My Anti-Drug is also running the Chicago Marathon with Team Determination to help fight cancer. Check out her Allied Steel Medal Display raffle HERE!

First or last?

My Tri top!
2 different feelings today on racing. This weekend's race I am pumped about, so excited to get out there. To top it off, the triathlon top I bought last year fits a little better and I think I'm going to wear it Sunday! I guess I got all worked up over a red top for nothing. While boosting my confidence looking at last years race results, I went to check out last year's results for the tri I was planning on in June. I am pretty sure I may come in last place! How depressing! They have a super sprint category as well, but I/m kinda bummed out now. I certainly don't want to finish a race in last place!

This morning I headed over to my alma matter to help with student practical exams, before they all head out on their PT affiliations. I had been creeping on the local triathlon club's website, and saw that one of the PT professors leads the Monday night ride. I have been super anxious about joining the club, because I hate meeting new people (anxiety about being liked), and I have no idea how to ride with a group. She assured me that it wasn't a tough ride, and that they could probably teach me a lot. So I think I'm gonna go for it!

I also have a patient who is a cyclist. So in exchange for my fabulous treatment skills, he is giving me cycling advice. Today we were talking about cadence. I recently got a cadence sensor to go with my garmin, so he told me after my ride last night, to check what my cadence was and we'd talk. I was at an average of 70ish, which I had no idea was good or bad. I was always under the assumption that you wanted to have a good amount of resistance as you pedal because it would take you further. He explained to me that actually increasing my cadence at a lower resistance will keep my legs from tiring and help me go faster. Add it to the list of things I don't know, since I taught myself! I'm always looking to learn...

What's the best cycling advice you have for me?
(or running or swimming)

This morning I slept through the alarm & missed my workout, and again today I am feeling drained by afternoon. What is my deal lately. Off to lounge and do a little stretching!!

Almost race ready

I started laying out my gear, and thankfully the crazy dreams stopped.

Today, I decided to shove my bike in the car and head over to the bike route of the race course for sunday. My original goal was to finish in under 37 min, but really I wanted to finish around 35.

guess what??

Under 35. And that was having to stop at 2 stop lights. And my legs felt awesome after, I wished I had brought my running shoes. I am so ready to kill this race on Sunday and hopefully take over the Athena category!

And my Optimum Nutrition winner is...

email me at with your address!

Happy swimming, biking and running!

wacky dreams

Last night I had several dreams where I was rushing around in a panic for this weekend's triathlon. I dreamed that I had nothing put together, I couldn't find my gear, and I arrived super late.  3 dreams throughout the night, all at different stages. My house, bib pickup, and transition set-up. I guess this means I better start getting my stuff together after work so I don't dream about it all night tonight!

Super awesome treadmill run this morning. Speedwork, which I killed, no unauthorized rest breaks. Big improvement since my last training cycle.

Off to work!

Be beautiful!

todays quote:

"Being the best that you can be? That's beautiful..." Tyra Banks

We all want to feel beautiful. Beautiful can come in many different ways. I personally love the idea that being the best you can be is beautiful. Imperfections are perfect, and working hard is beautiful. Every day we face challenges, and some days are better than others. The days where I feel as though I've done the best I can, is when I feel the most beautiful.

When are you the best you can be?

Today was a crazy day. No workout, but plenty of activity of a different sort. Shopping and cleaning! I headed out early to hit Costco and Dick's Sporting Goods. Easter supplies and a race top for next weekend. I was so mad to find no red tops in sight. Not a single one, only pinks, purples, and blue. So mad!! I ended up buying a pink one just in case, then searched online for a while, but nothing that I really liked, or was in my size. Pink it will be, I guess!

Then it was cleaning time! Scrubbed, swiffered, vacuumed, dusted. Did I mention that besides running 8-9 miles, going to church, and going to my dad's house for brunch, that I am cooking Easter dinner? I am making ham (even though I don't eat it), mashed potatoes, green beans, and other goodies for Kevin's family and my roomie. Yikes! I'm praying I don't mess it up, since I have no idea how to cook a ham!!

Food has not been a strong handle for me the past few days. Dinner out last night and tonight. I seriously need to start focusing, I can feel my waistline expanding. not good.

I didn't have a chance to post this weeks raffle winner yet...

email me your prize choice!

Have you donated yet??
I only have 2 weeks left to fundraise and I am over $200 away from my goal. I would really appreciate any help you can give. As incentive to donate for those of you who haven't yet, I will give anyone who donates this week an extra 3 entries into the raffle. Please help me out by visiting the raffle page HERE.
Those of you who have already donated, can earn an extra 3 entries by dedicating a post on their blog to my raffle fundraiser. Comment about it on this post once you do.

Thank you again to everyone who has donated & supported me. It really means a lot & I truly appreciate it!

Bedtime for an early run (go Bruins!)


Today I've been reading a lot of Boston Marathon Race recaps

Mel @ Tall Mom HERE
Katye @ Longs Legs On the Loose HERE
Beth @ SUAR Part 1, Part 2
Dorothy @ Mile Posts HERE

I don't live far from Boston, 1.5 hours at most. I've never had a desire to run it before. My friend Speedy trooper runs it every year with the rest of his state trooper buddies, and I always track his results. My brother, who lives in Boston, volunteers every year, and ran the 5K this year. When I told Speedy trooper that I would be doing the Disney marathon, he said "Why don't you do a real marathon like Boston or Chicago?" To me, a marathon is still a marathon, but WOW how amazing does Boston seem after reading all these race reports!

Now clearly I am a slow runner. I will never BQ. A 3:40 marathon is probably well over an hour past my reach. I am passionate about Stroke research and education, having done the Kona Half with Train to End Stroke in 2008. I vaguely remembered "Tedy's Team", Patriot's player Tedy Bruschi's team for the Boston Marathon that raises funds for the American Stroke Association. Maybe this will be in my future someday soon? Having the inspiration of my stroke patients I work with daily are enough to get me through anything. 

Today I managed a run. A short run. My back was achy, I haven't stretched in probably a week, and I just wasn't really feeling it. After 2 miles, I called it quits and stretched for a good 20 minutes. Tomorrow is a scheduled swim & strength day, I am crossing my fingers my lazy butt will wake up for it. 

Have you checked out my Run to Home Base Raffle yet?? All donations benefit injured war vets & there are some fabulous prizes to win! Please help me reach my goal (I have over $200 to reach my goal!). Visit HERE!

Don't forget my Optimal Nutrition giveaway HERE!

so stinking tired.

Unbelievably tired.

I've skipped all workouts so far this week. I MUST get to a run tomorrow.

The weather is dreary & depressing, I keep finding my eyelids wanting to close. Early to bed again tonight.

Have you heard Run Disney's race announcement? 

The Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. I am so jealous already of anyone doing the race. Tinkerbell is my favorite Disney character, I would love to go to  Disney land, but its a few weeks after the Disney full, and would probably make for a bad financial decision.  So sad... maybe another year.

My race calender is filling up for the rest of the year already! Next up, The Sherrif Sprint triathlon (my first of the season) on May 1, and the Run to Home Base 9K at Fenway Park on May 22! I am looking for an Olympic distance triathlon to possibly do later in the summer/early fall. 

Thank you for all your tips on my hair, I think I'm going to practice some french braiding now and see how it works!

Don't forget my protein giveaway from Optimum Nutrition HERE
And check out Check out One Crazy Penguin's MS Mud Run 10K fundraiser HERE!
She has some prizes for a great cause!

Getting there...

I am happy to report this weekend has turned around.

The yucky weather yesterday did leave me to skip my ride. What is awesome is that I had an amazing 9 mile run (1:43) today with Shelley. I didn't stop to walk the entire time and felt awesome at the end. We both felt like we could go another 5 miles if we wanted too. But we were looking forward to a change in our post race ritual.... a trip to Panera instead of Starbucks!

mine was minus the bacon

We had breakfast sandwiches and smoothies, which were fabulous. I had the low-fat black cherry smoothie, YUM! During our run, Shelley revealed her big news to me....

She is signing up to the run the Disney Marathon with me!!
I couldn't be more excited! Especially now that I will have someone to motivate me for long runs through the cold fall & early winter. sweet!

After doing some laundry, tv watching, and blog reading, I went out for a ride with my tri buddy Deb. She just got a new road bike, and wanted to show me the bike portion of the triathlon in 2 weeks. We didn't do the entire route (7.56 miles in 33 min), and she is a little slower than me, so overall I was satisfied with the time we made. The course was scenic and not too hilly. I know that for race day (and possibly one more practice beforehand), I can totally kick it up a notch and be ready for the run.

The best part? My legs feel fabulous! Not sore at all (knock on wood). The bad part? I can't figure out what I want to do with my hair for race day. My layers don't stay put with a low pony, and I can't wear a high pony with the helmet. Any suggestions?

I started reading...
Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance
Im hoping it gives me some motivation and information to loose some of these pounds to get myself in better racing shape. 

On the personal side of things, stuff may be turning around for the better. Right now I'm not holding my breath that he will make the changes he promises that he will.

Don't forget to check out my giveaways!
Run to Home Base HERE
Optimum Nutrition HERE

Optimum Nutrition Review & Giveaway

Lately I've been trying to get more protein in my diet. I want to stay fuller longer, and help build strong muscles for all my upcoming races, and want to feel more energized throughout the day. I recently started making smoothies to bring to work. Usually a combo of spinach, fruit & yogurt, I really wanted to add a little protein punch. So I started searching for protein powders.

I found Optimum Nutrition, a company that had been established in 1986 by brothers. I liked the fact they have extrememly strict standards for the materials used in their whey proteins. I really didn't know too much about what Whey protein really did until I visited HERE, where some clever videos give you the history of Whey and why it works. easy to understand, love it. Also check out the amazingly large variety of flavors. I didn't know protein powder could even come in flavors besides chocolate and vanilla!

Tim over at Optimum Nutrition sent me over some samples to try out, and I couldn't believe the variety!

It has a high pure protein percentage, low in carbs, and tastes great!
I mixed all mine with skim milk, but you could mix them with water too.
Mocha Cappuccino - blended with milk & ice was like a frappe
Chocolate Mint - OMG YUM! Blended this would make another fabulous treat
White Chocolate - my third favorite flavor
Cake Batter- very tasty, i think will be a tasty addition to a fruit smoothie
Cookies & Cream- Not a big fan of this one. Had little cookie pieces in it, but the taste wasn't there for me.
Orange Cream- I'm not really a creamy orange person, so I skipped trying this one

Double Rich Chocolate & Marshmallow treat
It has 26 crazy grams of protein! Great for pre-post workout or an afternoon snack swap.
Double chocolate- not a huge fan of the taste. I also felt like the size of the bar was HUGE! I think it could have been half the size. 
Marshmallow treat - Tasted pretty close to a rice crispy treat. little white chocolate chips on this one. yum.

Grape & Orange
Only 10 calories each, zero fat & sugar. It has free form amino acids and improves muscle recovery & energy & focus.
I'm not a grape person, so I tried the Orange instead, even though I'm not a big orange fan either. Taste was okay, but I'm hoping it powered me up after my long run today!
60 grams of protein?? This one is a little higher in calories, and draws proteins from 8 different sources and has a great vitamin & mineral blend. Last one on my list to try...

Conveniently packaged, only 3g of fat & 20g of protein. Yummy flavors like Chocolate crisp, Chocolate peanut butter, and Cookies & cream.

I tried Cookies and Cream, yum! Good texture & flavor. Definitely one I would eat again. I cut the bar in half though since I felt like the calories were a little high for a snack for me.

These products were sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

Want to win some Optimum Nutrition to try? I have a sampler prizepack for one of you!

Enjoy a bunch of flavors and products to try along with a shaker to mix it all in!

How to Win
please leave a separate comment for each
1. Be or become a follower of my blog
2. Check out Optimum Nutrition's website HERE and let me know what you like
3.  Follow Running to Health on facebook HERE
4. Follow Optimum Nutrition on facebook HERE and let them know Running to Health sent you!
5. Follow Optimum Nutrition on twitter @Team_Optimum
6. Spread the news (blog, facebook, twitter) and leave a separate comment for each

Deadline to enter is 4/26, good luck!

tough weekend ahead

This week has been tough. 

I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite coworkers and friends who is moving home to Arizona. I cried twice on thursday looking at her empty desk, and again saying goodbye to her that night.

I missed my friday workout.

The man and I made plans to hash things out with our life plans, and have a nice evening together. The evening went great until the planning began. I think that the drama and indecisiveness has come to an impasse and while I hate it, I think things are done. Its really an awful situation when you love someone so much, but things just aren't how they need to be.

I am aiming for a bike ride today, and my long run tomorrow.

I think this weekend will be tougher than the week has been.

This weeks raffle winner is....

Congrats Sara, email me your prize choice!

Have you entered yet??
There are still LOTS of great prizes to giveaway and all funds raised go to the Run to Home Base Fund for injured war vets of afghanistan & Iraq!
Check it out HERE

On another note, head over to Everymom to Ironmom to check out her post today. She is sticking up for those of us who struggle to get the training in, or want to try something new, or aren't elite athletes. loved it.

Happy Saturday

Disney Medal Envy

today while looking for a quote to post, I found this page in my inspiration notebook.

From 2008, with my Disney Marathon Logo. My ultimate goal.
Did I ever tell you the story of how I signed up for the Disney Half Marathon in 2010?

Well, we all remember why I became a runner right? To earn the Mickey Mouse medal. After visiting the park in 2006, beginning running shortly after, and eventually completing my first half marathon in June 2008, I decided I was ready. I managed to successfully convince a bunch of my "6 flags friends", all old co-workers from my college days, that running the Disney Half Marathon would be awesome. Most of them had never run a road race, let alone a half marathon. My brother jumped on board. So did my friend "A" (the same one that passed out at Disney Princess), she decided to go for the full. 

I will always remember the day I signed up. I was so excited that I was going to earn my Mickey medal!! I posted about signing up on facebook, and an old coworker, who had run Disney a few times messaged me. Thats when he broke the news to me...

"Um.... Steph, you know you get a Donald medal for finishing the half right?"

What the F***!!!
Seriously??? I have to run an ENTIRE Marathon to get the medal I was dreaming of??

After laughing at me while I practically cried at my misfortune, he told me, "Well, I guess that just means you'll have to go back and do it."

And going back I am. My 3rd Run Disney Event. My first full marathon. My Mickey Medal. I seriously cannot wait to earn that silly mouse!

266 days!

p.s. how ironic that as I was posting this, Run Disney sent an email reminding that race fees increase April 24th! So sign up if you're thinking about it!

I forgot to mention....

I signed up for my first marathon.
Disney 2012.
The race that I became a runner for, I will complete on January 8, 2012.

I had a $20 coupon from Disney Princess, and prices will rise soon, so I figured what the hell.

Climb the ladder

todays quote

"Each goal is like a rung on a ladder that helps you climb, step by step, to the top"

I like setting goals. I like making lists, because everytime I get to cross something off I feel accomplished. Setting goals gives me something to work for (check out my 2011 goals HERE), and reminds me of what I'm working toward. If each goal is a rung on a ladder, then each race, training workout, healthy day of eating is leading me to somewhere. What's at the top of my ladder? Overall health & fitness. Weight-loss. Self-confidence. Each goal I set for myself is getting me there bit by bit.

What's at the top of your ladder & what are your rungs to get there?

My weekend had me take a tumble down that ladder. After friday's delicious dinner out, I started to climb back out. Healthy eating, and my first outdoor ride of the season! I wanted to go out for a while, but Kevin and I headed out together & after tackling some killer hills we headed in and finished at 40 min. Sunday, I had a bridal shower for one of my old co-workers. Bellinis and a fabulous brunch, lead to skipping my long run. But I did clean my house for a couple hours, and must have burned a few calories at least doing that! 

Today is a new day.
I swam today, focused on my technique. I remembered my sneakers, and did some weight training. I ate healthy (minus the chocolate chip cookies when I got home). Then, I went for an easy 2 miler with Kevin! He is a sporadic runner, so when he suggested it (nice weather will do that to you), I jumped at the chance to go out together! We did 1 mile to the park, walked a little & sat down to watch the ducks, then headed back. We ran the whole first mile, and took a couple walk breaks for the second one. I was proud of him for pulling a double session too since he dragged his but to the gym this morning too! I guess he's climbing his ladder to health too.

Crossing my fingers I don't fall off the ladder!

Pearl Izumi Review

A little while back, Devon at Outside PR hooked me up with some fab Pearl Izumi gear to review. Since I have big, wide feet, I didn't fit into their new sneakers (booo!), so she sent over 2 tops and a pair of cycling shirts.

I've worn Pearl Izumi socks, and knew they were a big name in cycling gear, but didn't know they were into Running & Triathlon gear!

The first running top I tried out was the W INFINITY IN-R-COOL SS in Pink!

This top features:
*Superior skin cooling & moisture management
*Direct vent panels for ventilation
*Reflective elements for low visibility
*Sun Protection 50
*Semi-form fit

Love the back design!
My opinion?
Not only is it super light weight, and feels great on a run, it fits super flattering too! The color block panels on the side are slimming! As you can see from my back shot, they curve in giving the illusion of a smaller waist line (love it!). I've worn it on several runs at the gym, and contemplated it as a race top. So far, I think it is a great top!

Next up is the W AURORA tank

It features:
*Special moisture transfer fabric
*Inner Bra (not enough support for me)
*Reflective elements for low visibility
*Sun block 50
*Semi form fit

I liked the racerback design, the lightweight feel to the top & the design on the side. I felt like this was another really slimming top. I felt like it didn't cling to areas of my midsection that I wish it wouldn't, but instead laid neatly and cleanly on my curves.

love the side design!

I am already trying to plot what race I can wear this top in!

Last, but not least was an awesome pair of cycling shorts.
The W Symphony Short (with pink trim!)

They feature:
*Elite transfer fabric with IN-R-Cool technology
* silicone leg grippers
*One side pocket
*The Elite DC Chamois
*8" inseam
*Sun protection 50

getting ready for my first outdoor ride!
The Chamois is super thick, which is certainly not ideal for triathlons, but has been awesome for hours on the bike trainer. I wore it on my first outdoor ride yesterday and loved how cushy they were & that they never rode up or moved on my legs.

All in all, thanks so much for the new Pearl Izumi gear that I love! I'll definitely be checking out their stuff more often!

Now, Check out where the magic happens!
I found a backstage tour on youtube!

Happy Shopping!

Happy Weekend!

Last night I had the most delicious dinner, and I should have snapped pictures. We went to one of our favorite places, Eastside Grill in Northampton. Gorgonzola garlic bread & pan seared scallops to start, then dinner was butternut squash ravioli. We followed it up with a trip to La Fiorentina for coffee and dessert.

However, not part of my healthy eating plan. ::sigh:: oh well, it was heavenly. I did manage an awesome run yesterday morning. When I was finalizing my early summer training schedule (I know it took me forever), I realized RnR Providence is 4 months away! Which is the training time for the FIRST training plan, that I used so successfully for New Orleans. So I decided to make Providence my A race, with all my sprint Tris as B races throughout the training cycle. Unfortunately it will affect my long runs since most of the races are on Sunday, so I'll have to figure that out. 

Yesterday was Friday, which means I need to pick this weeks winner for the Run to Home Base Raffle!! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, the short story is I am raising money for injured war vets & need your help! With your donation, you are entered into a raffle with a prize to be drawn each week for some fabulous prizes!!

This weeks winner is....

email me your choice of prize!

There are still TONS of great prizes to win! Check them out HERE!

today I am a working girl, then hoping for a ride outside because it is a gorgeous day in Massachusetts! enjoy the day!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap

We got to DC around 10:30am on saturday, and after getting on the Metro to the hotel, we found ourselves in Macys. How the heck is there a Metro stop inside a Macys?? After finally finding our hotel, we headed to Capitol City Brewing Company for lunch. Next up was packet pick up.

We walked the few blocks away only to find a HUGE line wrapping around the entire building. We settled in at the back, then started to feel a sprinkle. Soon enough it was raining, then hailing! With no umbrella, or way to get shelter without skipping out on the line, we decided to tough it out.  Luckily a ton of people in front of us bailed, and we moved up a little more. Our total wait time? 1 hour. The most ridiculous wait time ever for race packet pick up. I'm not even sure why it was such a long wait, since when we finally got to the room for our bibs, there was barely anyone inside, and no wait at the check in tables. Completely ridiculous.

The expo wasn't too bad, I picked up a couple new sweaty bands, and a free swim cap. Scoped out the gear, then headed out to see the White House, and take a few pics. For dinner we headed to Aria, which was listed as an italian resteraunt and near our hotel. The only things "italian" about this place were the 3 pasta dishes and pizzas. The rest of the menu was salads & sandwiches, and the service was horrible. I would NOT recommend eating there to anyone.

After dinner we crashed to prep for our early wake up (actually a late one for me)! I was completely undecided on what to wear until the absolute last minute. After feedback on facebook, and checking out the Runners World "what to wear" page, I finally decided!

Pink shorts & socks won!

Race Day

Alarm went off, and I got up and started to get dressed and get my breakfast together. I put on my outfit, grabbed my throwaway longsleeve shirt, my breakfast and other gear and we headed out. We had a short walk to the race start from our hotel, and it was easy to find it since there were so many other people out walking to the start. We checked our bags, and took a few pictures by the Washington Monument.

We were in the green corral, which was 2nd to last. We crossed the start around 7:50am. My brother was running this race with me, which was our first really running together since his downfall at the Disney Half in 2010. He had just started training for his first marathon, and wanted to use this as a training run at a slower pace, so he decided to stick with me.  The weather was great, a little breezy to start, but I was able to ditch my throwaway around mile 3 or 4.

We cruised along, I was feeling pretty good.  I felt great for miles 1-5. By mile 5 I was really starting to feel it. Maybe because I was keeping a pretty steady 10:30ish pace.  I noticed that my Garmin was about .1 ahead around mile 3. The bad thing about the race course was the amount of out & backs. There were so many that you would see people running opposite you and not get to that point for quite a while later, a little discouraging! Around mile 5ish there was a water stop set up in a extremely narrow running road, which created a huge bottle neck, and slowed us down a bit. By mile 6, I was starting to slow, and I told my brother to go ahead without me.

As you can see, I faded hard. I had to take one walk break mile 6, 2 mile 7, then more throughout the rest. It must have been because I went out too fast, which sucks because I felt great, and I thought the pace was good, about 15 seconds slower than my half pace. I guess 10 miles is pretty close to a half marathon! Any advice on decreasing the fade?!

shots along the race

I was so excited to see the finish line! It was an uphill finish, and then we were done! Plus, I made my goal time (barely)!

After the race, I met up with my brother, who killed it in 1:44. We got our finishing medals and a muffin. Another bad thing? The set-up for post race food! I couldn't find it! Instead of being right off the finishers chute, it was off to the side, and I missed it until my brother pointed it out. 

Back to the hotel for a shower, then I starting searching for a lunch place. After searching for breweries online, I found one that served brunch. AMAZING. We were sold, and headed over to the District Chop House for fabulous beer & breakfast. 

Cherry Wheat beer, french toast & fruit! yummmmm
Overall, the race was fun, but not sure what the big hype is. It was really cool to run by some of the monuments, and the scenery was nice, but we won't be traveling for this race again. After the crazy packet pick up, and post race crowded confusion, I'd rather do a local race.