Do you love holiday gift giving?

I love holiday shopping.
I love picking out gifts for friends and family that I think they'll love.
It bothers me when others don't put as much care or thought into the gifts they give to me or others. I know I shouldn't judge, or should just be appreciative. I just feel like the whole point of gift giving is to think up something the person will love.
I'm continuing to work on giving thoughtful, caring gifts as I finish my shopping.

I love buying running people running gifts. I've thought up some great ideas for S, my mom & brother. And even my sister some sparkly soul bands to wear around town.

Speaking of great gifts, run over to check out Run with Jess'  Holiday Shopping Guide HERE for some great discounts for people on your list!

The past few days have been going well with workouts and healthy eating included. I did have some ice cream tonight, but got more than 7 fruits/veggies all day for the HBBC. A trainer ride yesterday and a run today are keeping my head in the game. My back has other plans and is killing me, I spent a ton of time on the foam roller tonight.

TRX tomorrow!

Thanksgiving & week 9 & 10 Recap!

                                                                Source: via Alana on Pinterest

Without goals set in place for myself... I feel lost. I need to have that motivation of the future to keep me striving to become better. A better runner, better with my nutrition, better with a healthy lifestyle. I had thanksgiving goals set in place for me thanks to Krystal @ Bia Fitness:
1. Bake a Healthy and nutrient dense dish (side or dessert) for festivities. DONE! My sweet potato casserole was a big hit!
2. Engage in 45 min of exercise the morning of. DONE! Manchester Road Race in 48 min with the family.
3. Eat breakfast the morning of the festivities. DONE! Pre race breakfast of my usual toast with PB & banana, then post race smoothie with whey protein, milk, and pumpkin.
4. Fill your 1st plate 1/2 full. go back for 2nds after 20 min and 20 oz of water, and NO seconds on unhealthy dishes. DONE! My plate was full with white turkey, sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and steamed carrots. No stuffing, white potatoes or rolls for me!
5. ALL leftovers out of the house after 5 days. Tomorrow I told Kevin I am throwing away whatever he doesn't eat before then. I've had my share of extra pumpkin pie.
6. Limit all alcohol consumption to 1 for the day. FAIL. Who can say no to wine??!!

What are your upcoming goals for the Holiday season?

All in all, it was a fabulous holiday. We had a blast at our 3rd time doing the Manchester Road Race, even getting my mom, Kevin & Jason's girlfriend to join in!
Kevin & I pre-race
Brother, Mom & Me pre-race!
This is a big Turkey Day race & it was the 75th year celebration. The race is capped at 15,000 every year. Every year it is an insane, mad dash of people throughout the entire race. There are so many people it is almost impossible to settle in at a good pace.
We saw my friend Amy & her mom all decked out after the finish!

The 15,000+ crowd!

Overall, the past 2 weeks have been tough marathon training wise, but I'm feeling encouraged, leading into this coming week. Especially with the little boost I got from doing well so far in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge!

Marathon Training Week 9 & 10 Recap
Monday 11/14- Rest day! Much needed after a 15 miler the day before
Tuesday- Speedwork workout, a little tough with longer sprints.
Wednesday- TRX class
Thursday- Tempo Run 1mile easy, 4 miles Mid Tempo, 1 mile easy. Took a while to warmup to the run, but felt better about 3 miles in.
Friday - Skipped TRX... had to be at my birthday breakfast early!
Saturday - Skipped
Sunday - Planned on doing my longrun monday with my running parter, but she bailed on my and went sunday. Did a 60 min trainer ride instead.
Monday 11/21- Day off from work, planned 16 miles. I made the mistake of splitting it into 2, 8 mile loops. I stayed home after loop 1.
Tuesday- Speedwork with longer sprints. Tough to keep going, but I managed to finish! It was a great birthday morning run.
Wednesday- TRX class. I was actually able to do a single leg squat on my right leg for the first time without pain!
Thursday- 10 mile tempo planned. 4.77 mile Manchester Road Race instead. I was hoping to get another 5 in, but we just got home too late.
Friday- No TRX due to black friday... booo! Does christmas decorating after work count?
Saturday- Worked all day, then relaxed all night.
Sunday- 12 mile long run solo. Lots of stretch breaks and walk breaks, not a great pace. My knee is starting to finally feel better though!
My goal for this week is to get every single run in!
Nutrition- Not horrible, but not great. Weight Watchers at work ended, leaving me feeling a little stranded. The holiday and my birthday celebrations (3 so far, and 1 more to go), have thrown me a little off track. My goal is to eat clean and healthy all week, then splurge a little over the weekend for my 7 year anniversary and my work Holiday Party. wish me luck!

And don't forget to check out my Fuel Belt giveaway HERE!

Fuel Belt Review & Giveaway!

Looking for some great gifts for your running family and friends?
Or maybe some ideas of what you want?
Over the next few weeks leading up to the holidays, I'm going to review & giveaway some great gift ideas, so stay tuned!

First up, is Fuel Belt!

A while back, Fuel Belt sent me some fabulous gear to test out, and it quickly became a staple in my triathlons and short races.

Lightweight, comfortable, and perfect for my run leg of triathlons. I attach my race bib to the lace locks, and lay it with my running sneakers to throw on after racking my bike. The belt is fully adjustable, and they come in tons of great colors.

10 oz holds plenty of fluids for a quick 5K run (I can NEVER go without water). Theres a zipper pocket for a few chews during a triathlon or for my keys at a 5K. The curve of the bottle fits nicely in my hand.

Lightweight, and adjustable. Easy in/out bottles. I gifted this to my friend A after she passed out at Disney Princess. So far, she loves it, and her husband allows her to continue running knowing she'll be hydrated.

Sporting both the race belt & the handheld!

Race belt for the Womens Tri in Farmington, CT!

I definitely recommend adding Fuel Belt to your shopping list. Not only do I love the race belt and bottle holder, their customer service was excellent. Colleen at Fuel Belt was so awesome to send me the gear to try and some for you to keep!

stretchy zippered pocket, spots for gel, adjustable belt, and lace locks for your bib.
I have one in pink to give away to a lucky one of you!

How to Win
1. Be or become a follower of my blog
2. Check out Fuel Belt's page HERE and let me know whats on your wishlist!
3. "like" me on facebook HERE and tell me what else you have on your wishlist!
4. Spread the word on facebook, twitter, or on your blog!

Enter until 12/3, good luck!

Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving is a great holiday.
I love that it falls near my birthday.
When I was little I loved it when my birthday actually fell on thanksgiving. It felt like an extra big party just for me. 
Now, I love the new traditions we've made. 
Running the Manchester Road Race (the 75th anniversary this year) with friends and family. This year myself, Kevin, my brother, his girlfriend, my mom & a couple friends will be running. So exciting!

I love making my cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes for thanksgiving dinner. This year I'm making a new recipe for my sweet potatoes, and I'm hoping they're to die for!
Thinking about what I'm thankful for, the good things to treasure in my life. Sometimes on a daily basis, its hard to see what the important things in life are. Having a day to remind us we should be more thankful is a good thing.

This year we've decided to go to dinner at my mom's house. After the road race, I should get another 5 miles in, as scheduled, but I'm not sure where to fit it in. I may just get it done on Friday morning since TRX is cancelled.
What are your thanksgiving plans?
Any plans to get active with your family?
Happy turkey eating!

Getting back to it...

Thanks a million for all your uplifting words from sunday & monday! I am pleased to report that I am working myself out of the funk!

Monday, I was planning for my 16 miler. I split it up into 2, 8 mile loops from my house so I could stop to refill water, stretch, etc.  I felt great & kept pace the first 8 miles, my knee & back started tightening up towards the end. I went inside, stretched, ate a honey stinger waffle (I was STARVING at this point), and refilled water bottles. I started dreading the 2nd loop. Bad thoughts were creeping into my head. 
What if my knee started hurting too bad?
What if I hurt myself more when I'm finally starting to feel better?
I have a million things I want to do today.
I am hungry & I don't want to do this.
I set out for that 2nd loop, but part way down my street, my heart and head just weren't in it. I turned around back to the house. Major fail? I don't think so. Instead of totally skipping the long run, I got 8 miles in. 8 miles with some good hills, and keeping good with pace. The rest of the day proved successful, as I hit the mall for holiday outfits, organizational buckets for my basement, and new bedding on sale for the guest room. monday = WIN.

Tuesday was another WIN, because it was my birthday!
I hit the gym for my tuesday speed work, and killed it. The last 2 intervals were tough, and I wanted to quit, but I stuck with it to finish. Awesome way to start my birthday. I got flowers delivered to work by the man with an amazing card. Nothing I love more than Flowers at work. I went for a massage, and my birthday gift from the massage place is an upgrade from 55 min to 80 min, sweet! I got home and Kevin had dinner ready with candles, wine, and john mayer playing. It was seriously the most romantic thing he's ever done and it was amazing.

Plus, in all my misery I forgot to mention my new ride!!

I bought a brand new Honda CRV last week and I'm in love. I just couldn't go another winter sliding all over the roads in my little Civic, and it was time for an upgrade.

This morning is TRX, then after work I'm going to get a head start on my dishes for thanksgiving. I'll share the plan later. Have a happy wednesday!

I'm in a shitty mood....

My running partner and I had planned on doing our long run monday instead of sunday since she had company all weekend. I took work off, and readjusted my schedule. Then I get a txt today saying that she decided to go running today instead. WTF?

For thanksgiving this year, we were supposed to be at my dad's house. My dad just let me know that this year instead of a dinner, they're taking everyone out to a resteraunt. That seems so non-thanksgiving to me. Now I'm worried I'll hurt my dad's feelings by eating at my mom's house instead. 

Jumping on the bike trainer for an hour helped me feel a little better, but I'm still in this funk. My negative attitude & things surrounding it aren't helping either.

So, I'm here.
I'm trying.
words of encouragement welcome

Fundraising for a great cause!

Remember earlier when Jackie wrote a guest post about Team Determination?

Elizabeth @ Just Me & My Running Shoes has run with them before, and is doing it again, for her 3rd full marathon! Next up is the Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon March 4th!

Her raffle includes great prizes like Yurbuds, Allied Steel displays, Go Girl Sport wear, Spibelts, Road IDs and more!!

And its for an awesome cause to raise money for the American Cancer Society. So I highly recommend you check it out, HERE!

You get, what you put in....

                                                                                            Source: via Erika on Pinterest

you get what you put in.
Isn't that so true?
Truth is, I haven't put much into it lately. My energy level is low, probably because my eating has been crappy. Its been tough giving it my all in my workouts, because my energy level is low. My head is not in the game, and I need to get it there. That explains my absence from blogging and blog reading as well.
My goal for the week is to get back on track with everything.
positive energy.

What motivates you out of a slump?

Week 8 Marathon Training Recap
Monday- easy 30 minutes on the elliptical and stretching
Tuesday- speedwork run. I managed all the intervals sucessfully, without any cheats.
Wednesday- TRX class
Thursday- only made 2.25 of my 6 mile tempo run. Totally not feeling it.
Friday- Skipped my TRX class. exhausted, but unable to sleep well.
Saturday- 3 mile run/walk with my triathlon friend Barbie and her 3 month old girl. It was nice to catch up and meet the baby!
Sunday- 15 miles at 12:30ish pace. my knee was achy, and my energy just wasn't there. This was a rough run for me. I sent Shelley ahead of me for the last 3ish miles, and met her at the end. 

Send me some good vibes!

Guest Post... Running with Determination!

Cancer Charity Marathons Offer Runners New Motivation and Support
By: Jackie Clark

Do you already enjoy marathon running? Or are you a runner who has thought for some time about entering a marathon but are still daunted by the prospect? In either case, the American Cancer Society offers a program to help committed marathoners bring new meaning to their running and to give less experienced or first-time marathoners new motivation and support to sign up for an event.

The American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation program offers runners training assistance and other perks in exchange for their commitment to go the 26.2-mile distance to raise money for research in the fight against cancer, including mesothelioma.

Numerous marathons and other endurance events, including half marathons and triathlons, qualify for the DetermiNation program. You can find participating events near you, or at destinations you’d like to visit, at

By competing and raising funds in these events runners can help fund research to find a cure for various forms of cancer and a better prognosis and improved life expectancy for those who do receive a cancer diagnosis.

Fund-raising marathons offer runners a higher level of motivation, purpose and sense of accountability to encourage them to put in the training miles necessary to prepare for a marathon. As you raise funds for the fight against cancer, you can receive further motivation when you choose to run in tribute or memory of a family member or friend who has fought the battle against cancer.

By signing up to participate in a DetermiNation event you can receive a variety of benefits to help you prepare and enjoy the event. These benefits include:
• Free team training, which can be adapted to your beginning fitness level, schedule and lifestyle
• Online tools that help you achieve your fundraising goals by making it convenient for friends and family to pledge their financial support
• Invitations to social events open only to Determination registrants
• A special DetermiNation racing shirt
• Mentoring and encouragement from coaches and team members
• VIP amenities available only to DetermiNation team members during race weekend – such as access to an American Cancer Society tent, massages, changing areas, a place to check your gear, and more

Through fund-raising efforts such as DetermiNation, runners can find new reason and purpose in training for and crossing the finish line of a marathon. Learn more HERE.

Personally, I think fundraising for a race is AWESOME when your passionate about the cause. Maybe team determination, Team in Training, or Train to End Stroke is for you! 
Have you ever ran with a charity?

How to survive without power for 7 nights

As many of you know by my complaining, the northeast was hit by a killer storm over a week ago leaving me without power from saturday night until this past saturday night. The week was spent freezing in my apparently poorly insulated house that ranged from 40-46 degrees, and wearing way too many layers of clothing for hanging around indoors. The week without power made me realize how much I really depend on it, not just for heat, but everything else (hairdryers, stove, computer, TV)!

I compiled my top 10 list of ways to survive, in case this ever happens to you.

1. Keep warm wearing whatever you can.
This may mean the crazy wannabe snuggie your mom bought at Macys or a hat, scarf and gloves to bed. It also may mean a layer of 5 shirts: tank top, t shirt, long sleeve, & 2 sweatshirts. Down coats are optional, but also welcome.

2. Find ways to keep yourself occupied
The first full day without power we dragged a table & chairs out to the driveway for a cranium challenge while taking on a bucket of beer packed with snow. Stopping at any local store that actually has power is recommended to stock up on games if you don't have any. We added Skip Bo & Yahtzee to the collection.

3. Learn to live your life out of duffle bags
Every day I packed my Vera Bradley duffle with clean clothes and shower stuff and my black Pink bag with workout gear. They were crammed into my front seat for workouts and showers wherever I could get them in. I recommend spending 15 minutes at night to get everything packed up to avoid chaos in the morning.

4. Get creative with your cooking
Without a stove to cook on, or a microwave or crock pot to heat up food, we had one resort left, the grill! Once the novelty of eating out wore off after the first 2 nights, we made some yummy grill dinners. Teriyaki chicken burgers, and BBQ chicken pizza straight on the grill. We were getting ready to grill shrimp and chicken, when we ran out of gas. This means, drive to your mom's house and use hers.

5. Never yell at your mom for her Yankee Candle obsession
Someday, that massive candle collection may benefit you. Then, you casually mention that you could use a few, and you'll get to smell and pick a few out, just like at the store. We literally could see perfectly throughout my mom's house when we went over for dinner, Thanks mom!

6. Don't be afraid to shower in random places
Take advantage of hot power and electricity for a blow dryer. Any gym with power is a great option. I showered at a gym a few towns over, at my mom's, my gym and a cold shower at home between it all. Amazingly, the best ones were at the gym after a good workout.

7. Layer the bed
Even if its 40 degrees inside, it could be 80 degrees under the covers! My preferred layering method? Flannel sheets, 2 fleece blankets, soft cozy blanket, down comforter, extra comforter.

8. Enjoy breakfasts out
When Panera regained power, I couldn't wait to get something yummy for breakfast! Before this I was trying to survive on cereal, which does not keep me full. Eating habits vary greatly when your regular routine is disrupted. I managed to stay mostly in control, avoiding candy, and bringing leftovers to work.

9. Keep your smartphone charged at all times
Without my iphone, I would have been ridiculously disconnected from the world. Storm updates, power company updates, emails, blogs, facebook. I found random places to charge it, Friendly's, the gym, work, the 99, and finally once I got a car charger, there. A smartphone is an essential in my book.

10. Be nice to your neighbors
See that electric truck behind the shed? It started doing work after my creepy neighbor offered the electric guys weed & beer. Not sure if thats why my power came back an hour or so later, but I couldn't be happier!

After the outage, we ordered a gas lamp, and are planning on stocking up on flashlights, candles, extra blankets, and I'm angling for a headlamp for running that could double as a light in emergency situations.  
Any tips or recommendations?

Week 7.... and tons of winners!

The knee pain won't give up.
The pain was edging me on during Sunday's long run, trying to get me to stop. I slowed down, but pushed through and got all 10 miles in. 
You only reach your limit when you can go no further.
Shelley and I talked on our run about the importance of getting our training runs in. She said she was afraid of not being able to finish the marathon. I told her that it wasn't an option. No matter how tired we are, or how much pain we're in on race day, we will finish. When we cross the finish, we may not be able to go any further. We may have reached our limit. But running, walking, crawling, we'll make it to the end.

I have been stretching, foam rolling, and hoping that it will disappear.
Go away knee pain!!

Marathon training week 7 recap
Monday- remember my 14 mile long run that I added to last week's update
Tuesday- With still no power, and sore legs from monday, I skipped my speedwork.
Wednesday- Headed to TRX. Only me and 1 other girl. Luckily power had come on at the studio the day before so we had lights to workout in. After TRX, I came home to a cold shower (worst decision ever), then went to work to get ready.
Thursday- The gym got power, yay!! planned 8 miles tempo, but only got 7 in with the time I had. Nice hot shower at the gym, fabulous!
Friday- After sleeping at my mom's house (she got power), I went to TRX and was the only one for the first 15 minutes until 1 other person showed up. Headed back to mom's house to get ready.
Saturday- Worked all day, then cried when I came home and the power still was not on. In the middle of my cryfest, my neighbor offered the electric guys weed & beer, and the power came on shortly after. No workout, but I CRANKED up the heat!!
Sunday- Long run with Shelley. We ran in South Hadley for 10 miles on a route she mapped with killer hills. Unfortunately killer hills, killed my right knee/leg, and I hobbled toward the end. The last half mile, Shelley finished up while I did laps around her condo complex to get to my 10. 
Nutrition- Went to hell this week. Being unable to eat my regular foods, and keep on track threw me way off. Even though I ate healthy, I'm thinking I may show a gain this week.

Not only did I FINALLY get my power back saturday, but I got cable & internet back today too!!
Shutterfly winners....
Cat B @ Chasing K(m)s

New Sparkly Soul winner (old one didn't get back to me)

email me to collect your prizes!!
sgrigely at hotmail dot com

Lucy's 12th Birthday Party!

Have you ever heard of Lucy?
Lucy is a company that makes stylish workout wear for women for multiple sports including running, yoga, hiking and other outdoor activities & general training. Their gear is cute, functional, and made from quality material.

To help celebrate their 12th birthday, they are celebrating with a HUGE store wide sale!

Take 25% off the entire store & find out what other goodies and deals they have in store.
To find a store near you, check out their website HERE.
My closest is at Blue Back Square in West Hartford.

Happy Shopping!

Marathon Training Week 6 recap!

I'm trying to keep things as normal as possible, despite the power outage.
I got up at 5:10am to go to TRX in the pitch black. Luckily, Bia Fitness' studio got power back yesterday, so we didn't have class in the dark. It was so nice to be in a warm place! After working out I took a cold shower (huge mistake), and did my hair and makeup at work.

Remember that BBQ chicken pizza I was going to make on the grill?

It came out fabulous! Caramelized red onions, grilled chicken, BBQ sauce & gouda cheese. YUM! We also used the grill to boil some water for tea & hot chocolate. Thank goodness!

Marathon Training recap week # 6 
Monday 10/24 - slept in (still recovering from that Halloween Party)
Tuesday - treadmill speedwork: 2x 1200m @ 6.5mph, 4x 800m @ 6.6mph with warmup, cooldowns and rest intervals in between. Felt strong throughout the speedwork intervals, which were long, but doable. Felt good to run!
Wednesday- TRX class. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I just know I am going to love the TRX so much this round. It is helping me focus more on core strengthening, which I desperately need!
Thursday- Treadmill tempo: 5 miles @ 5.9 mph . FAST for me!! I was surprised by how good my knee felt, and how great the pace and run overall felt.
Friday- TRX Circuit @ Bia Fitness
Saturday- Was planning an indoor ride, but skipped because I "didn't feel like it." NEVER again!! The snow started shortly after, and now no power!
Sunday- with all the downed power lines and trees, we decided to skip our scheduled long run. Boring day spent waiting for hot coffee, shoveling snow, then playing cranium outside because it was warmer there than in the house.
Monday- Included in this week because I did my longrun!! I made it all 14 miles on the treadmill, stopping after miles 3, 8, 12, then finish for more water. A couple walk breaks here and there to stretch out the knee, or avoid too much pain, but other than that I felt great (even better to finish!) 14 miles in 2:47:03!
Nutrition- Had been doing great counting all my points all week & weekend until the power went out. I managed to keep my Halloween promise and avoid the candy, but not eating my regular foods made me hungry at odd times and feeling uncomfortable. I'm trying my best to stay on track until we get power back hopefully saturday!

I'll do this week's training recap as usual next Monday!

Still no power...

Still have no power.... it's looking like we won't get it back until saturday. 
Which will be a week.
I have resorted to staying late at work in order to blog (yuck!)

The damage is crazy, with downed power lines and trees everywhere. I'm not sure why western & central MA has been so cursed these last 5 months with the Tornado, Hurricane and now Blizzard. This damage was much more widespread, which is leaving hundreds of thousands of us in massachusetts without power, with trees blocking streets, and with ice cold houses. 

I called out from work yesterday. No way was I going in without a shower since saturday, and not knowing when my next one would be. Thankfully monday afternoon, I got word that the Healthtrax in West Springfield was open!! Since I belong in East Longmeadow, they let me use their gym, and I paid $10 for Kevin. We spent the entire afternoon there, while I rocked out my 14 mile longrun on the treadmill and Kevin worked out and studied. I then took the most amazing shower & blow dried my hair. I was in heaven. 

On the way home, we stopped by CVS for some snacks
pretzels and diet Dr. Pepper

Then made dinner at home on the grill. Chicken Teriyaki Burgers and sweet potatoes. We spent the rest of the night relaxing in the candlelight (me rocking my new black CEP socks), and trying to stay warm (Is it weird I have a 'bedtime scarf'?). 

Tonight I'm debating another gym trip, or just heading home to try grilling a pizza. We may stop by my friend Debbie's to sleep since she has power. Send warm thoughts and good luck my way so I'll get power back soon! I promise I'll post my training recaps when I can.