Running, injury & lessons learned

Let’s chat about aches, pains & the dreaded I word… injury. I would assume that when faced with an injury, most people don’t joyfully shout, “YAY – physical therapy here I come, I can’t wait!” Or, at least I didn’t. Having to cut back on runs, schedule three sessions of PT a week and make many other changes to my fitness routine haven’t been the dreamiest.

BUT, as I move through this hurdle, I am trying to focus on the positives…  like the fact that I’m still allowed to run. That I can run.

I’ve had my fair share of injuries and setbacks.

In 2008, while training for my first marathon, I had an IT band issue creep in during the week of my 20 miler, just a week before taper time. I visited a sports medicine physician, rested, foam rolled, rested some more… and was able to finish my first 26.2 with a smile on my face!

In 2015, while training for the Scioto Miles 10K, I had my first encounter with a true “pain in the butt” likely caused by a super tight right hip, glute & piriformis (and possibly SI joint dysfunction, if you want to get technical). I was able to work through one session of physical therapy, do PT from home, cut back training for a couple weeks, then ramp back up and achieve a new 10K PR just a few months later.

And then this winter, my 2015 injury came back for an angry visit. As my training began to ramp up in late January, something felt “off.” I was okay during runs, but the next day, my right leg would ache in the high hamstring, glute & low back area. It started off mild. Then, it got a little stronger and would ache all day. And eventually, as I refused to slow down & “pushed through it” – it began affecting the entire right side of my body. I would get lightening like zings in my lower back & down my leg, numbness, tingling, tightness, pain… you name it. We were in the middle of our Living Fit Columbus 2018 Winter Challenge and Cap City Half training had JUST kicked off…. so this was very untimely.

Are injuries ever timely though, really?

An injury or setback in your fitness routine is never welcome and I didn’t take it well, at least at first. It’s SO frustrating, especially when you feel like you are doing all the right things. Cross training. Stretching. Resting after a hard day. Increasing mileage slowly. Sometimes, no matter what we do (or don’t do), injuries happen. Pro triathelete Pedro Gomes once stated, “When you push your body to the limit – as athletes so often do – it can break down.”

After our Cap City kickoff run in early February, I took an entire week off running and took it “easy” over the next several weeks. I cut back. I modified. I had a 30 day pass to SOS and only went 4 times. I vented. I sought advice from running friends, local experts and of course, online bloggers. I gave up goals of a spring PR. I’m most likely sidelining my plans to run the Knoxville Half (state #10!)

Its been challenging. Both physically and mentally. Below are some lessons learned.

But first, sleep

Prior to my injury, I was only averaging about six hours of sleep per night, even though I know my body needs more. I did a sleep study a few years back and averaged almost 8 hours per night. Disregarding my body’s needs, the “get it all done” mentality had me staying up too late each night and trying to get one more thing accomplished. I’ve since told myself, the to-do list will still be there tomorrow and I’ve been aiming for 1-2 more hours of sleep each night. Some nights I get to bed early. Some mornings I skip that 5AM workout I was trying so hard to make a regular thing. I make sure to have a complete “rest” day at least 1-2 times per week. As athletes, we need to give our body the sleep & rest it needs to repair and rebuild.

Running 101 – the basics 

  • Complete rest may be what your body needs for a bit – I took a week off and only resumed running once experts (an athletic trainer, my family doctor who is a runner and my physical therapist) all gave me the green light to try it. It’s a complete & utter bummer to be sidelined for a day, a week or longer… but running on certain injuries can do further damage.  
  • When your body is ready to re-introduce running, start with short distances of slower paces. I gave up “race pace” for several weeks, stuck to flat courses, took walk and stretch breaks when needed… no BQ training over here, but I was just trying to be happy with anything I could get! 
  • Dynamic warm-ups are a MUST. Repeat, a MUST. This will be a separate post at some point, but for now, this Runner’s World warm-up will do just fine!
  • During runs, I’ve been conscious of shortening my stride and increasing my cadence (steps per minute) to help decrease the impact and pounding on my body
  • Make static stretching (30 second holds) and foam rolling (30 seconds on each body part) a regular part of your post-run routine.

Lean on me

You are not alone – be willing to seek guidance & support from others! When running is your physical fitness activity of choice, your mental outlet, your social “community” and suddenly you aren’t allowed to do it… you may go a little crazy.

  • Involve professionals to start the recovery process as quickly as possible. Run coaches, athletic trainers, Physical Therapists, sports medicine doctors – whatever best fits your situation. When my PT, Kyle, told me at our first consult that he was training for the Cap City Half, I knew he was a good match! Kyle runs regularly for cardiovascular health, has run one full marathon and is now training for his first “official” half (since he skipped the 13.1 to get to the 26.2!) I have enjoyed a runner’s perspective on my therapy & training, as well as gabbing about weekly mileage, long runs, and more. I personally would not want to work with someone who didn’t have the “runner’s mindset” – no matter how good of a PT they were!

Drayer PT Hilliard team! (Left to right) Becca, Michael, Kevin & Kyle. The boys are training for the Cap City Half, competing against their Grove City team. Excited to see them at the finish line!

  • Enlist emotional “therapy” from friends & family. There was a period of a few days when I was envisioning having to take weeks to months off running. My husband, mom & regular running buddies caught the main earful of my frustration. And yes, I ugly cried in my bedroom one night. They have all been very supportive through my struggles, my low days, my slow runs, and more recently, my progress (happy dance!) Michelle Fleming, co-owner of RISE Fitness emailed me saying, “I know its frustrating. Just think: you very rarely rest. It is important as athletes that we take time to truly rest… Hang in there. You can do it.”  Positive words from friends can go a long way.


  • Prayer & positive affirmation – whatever your faith or beliefs are, look to that “higher power” to give you support. I’ve prayed for health & healing, but also to be content with where I am and be thankful for what & who I have in my life.

Daily movement

This is simple. Sit less, stand/walk more! Whether you are a teacher (like me) or have a more traditional “desk job” – find way to incorporate more movement into your day. Read our previous post – Don’t Just SIT There, Tips for Squeezing in Movement During the Work Day – or check out some quick tips below.

  • Walk on your breaks… or maybe even during meetings! My co-worker and I do laps as we have some of our collaborative meetings.  This morning, we got in 2,000 steps before 8AM! Bonus – walking meetings can have many other benefits.
  • Stand up more – don’t have a fancy desk? Try using a crate, box, anything stable to raise your laptop up. Or invest in a standing desk if your budget allows.
  • Use a gadget or app to help motivate you – February was the first month where I closed my iWatch movement and exercise ring every day. March, I’m coming for you!  #closethoserings

Collaborative “Walking Meetings” with my co-worker at Orange HS!

Strength & Stretch

I love to run. And for whatever reason, I’ve never really loved lifting. I can get myself to an occasional group fitness class at OTF, RISE or SOS… but strength training has just never been my cup o’ joe. My PT has me convinced now, that a strong body, especially the core and glutes, will give me the power I need to be a faster runner and the muscle strength I need to (hopefully) remain injury-free. I have developed many total body and lower body routines with Kyle at PT sessions that I have PROMISED I’ll continue weekly after my time with him ends. I’m also working with my lift-loving friend, Jaime, on a post-run lower body routine. She is the strongest momma I know and swears she’ll whip me into shape if I join her on leg day!


Stretching has been something I’ve always been good about AFTER a run, but I’m now doing a dynamic warmup before runs and trying to incorporate some slow flow yoga (vs only Vinyasa & athletic yoga) into my week. “Journey to Handstand” will be put on hold for now, while back extensions & press ups (aka, baby Cobras), figure 4s and pigeon become a part of my regular routine.


Everyone loves a good comeback story

Injuries suck. They test your patience. Its hard to sit back, watching the running community posting 100+ mile months and their latest speed-work selfie. Its frustrating to know you may not be able to race this spring like you’d planned. But you HAVE to find a way to stay positive, embrace your setback & focus on your comeback. Maybe I’m not quite as bada*s as Lindsey Vonn, the comeback queen, but somehow, with time and a lot of hard work, I’ll climb this obstacle.  Gretchen, co-owner of System of Strength says it best… “Find A Way.”  


One of my fitness role models, Gretchen of System of Strength // “Find A Way” (photo by SOS)

I do believe that after six weeks, I’m on the road to recovery.  I am *mostly* pain free, have started sprinkling back in some speed-ish sessions and longer runs to test the water, and after four weeks of PT, hope to be re-evaluated soon for dismissal. As Lindsey Vonn said, “I’m still in the phase where I push myself and see how it responds – sometimes it responds well, sometimes it doesn’t and I have to kinda back it down a little bit.”  I don’t know when I’ll be back to 100% – but I do know that I’ve learned a lot and I’m thankful for my ability to run… even if I’ve had to slow down for a while.

We don’t need to always be in the speed lane.



Progress pic!! 8 mile run with my new routine // Dynamic warmup + one mile warmup + more stretching + six miles conversational + one mile cooldown + static stretch + foam roll. Phew!



Gearing up for Cap City (Year 4!)

This year is the 15th anniversary of the Cap City Half Marathon and will be my fourth time at the event. I really love this race and was honored when asked to be an ambassador and “Voice of Cap City” for 2018’s event.  Since I knew I’d be running the race anyhow, why not include some blog & IG posts along the way?

David Babner, Cap City race director, refers to this race as “the best tour of Columbus on two feet” and I would agree. What better way to view our city than a two hour jog through the streets! I have made a lot of great memories and met some amazing people along the miles of the Cap City events…

Year #1 – Cap City Half 2008 – Lifetime Fitness Run Club // Coached a few runners and helped them finish under 2 hours! Also ran 5 miles before the race, as I was training for my first full marathon in Cleveland later that spring… this was my longest run to date, 18.1 miles total! The race was fun and we had a blast at the finish line. Do I look 10 years younger in this pic? Wait, don’t answer that…

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Cap City Half 2008

Year #2 – Cap City Half 2014 – Living Fit Columbus Run Crew // I took a few years off from Columbus races as I was traveling around, conquering various states. After having my first baby in 2013, traveling the country became less feasible so I circled back to my roots. My BFF Katie ran this with me as her first half marathon, along with several other friends and my mom, who managed to carry a packH2O for 13.1 miles. Great race, even better after party.  See our full image gallery HERE.  Speaking of images, crazy how the iPhone camera quality has gotten so much better over the years!


Cap City Half 2014

Year #3 – Cap City Quarter 2017 – Living Fit Run Crew // My hubby & bff’s hubby helped me chase down a new PR! We “weathered the storm” and finished the quarter before the race got called and were enjoying our VIP privileges as the storm rolled in. Check out our full recap and media gallery HERE.


Cap City Quarter 2017


Year #4 –> Cap City 2018! // There are so many amazing people and groups of runners training for this race.  Below are just a few, jump in and join them for a group run!


Cap City Ambassador event 2018


Cap City kickoff run+social with Rocky Fork Run Club at Land Grant Brewery

I’m so excited for this race, but even more so, the after party. 🙂 I originally was training to run the half & break two hours with a couple friends and I’m hoping that is still feasible. As I work through a glute/hip injury… we shall see! If I can just get to the finish line, I’ll be happy… that VIP experience is top notch!

Today is the last day to sign up before the next price hike… so get registered if you haven’t already! I can promise you a great sweat, a fun event & a memorable experience. Use our code 18VOCLivingFit for $10 off and we’ll see you at the after-party!


Fit Mommas // Make time for #selfcare

Happy Valentine’s Day momma! Many think of this as a day to celebrate your “sweetheart” – but why not celebrate YOU as well!? Do something today to spoil yourself. Go workout. Take a hot bath. Maybe even sneak a piece of chocolate (full of antioxidants, right?)


When you take care of yourself, you show up better for others.


We all know it, we just don’t all do it. Maybe there aren’t enough hours in a day… and you’re constantly putting yourself last. Maybe you work outside of the home and feel guilty leaving the kids to go to the gym at night. Maybe you don’t have childcare. No matter the reason, convince yourself that “you are worth it” and try to find a couple hours per week (or more!) to focus on yourself. If there is a will, there’s a way.

And do NOT let guilt creep in! It is OKAY to take care of yourself & prioritize your own personal well being. In an article titled, Why its not selfish to take care of yourself, the authors state their research findings… the more time working mothers spent taking care of themselves, the better were the emotional and physical health of their children.

In case you need some more convincing, here are some thoughts from some fit moms around Columbus….

“As a working mom, I understand the challenge of balancing family, kids, work, healthy eating and exercise. I feel most capable of this balancing act when I make my health a priority.” – Sara W, RISE Fitness Community Trainer & Run Coach


“I show up for myself every day and I come work out here because I want to show my two sons that girls are strong. I feel like moms all the time put themselves last on the priority list so my thoughts are, you need to put yourself at the top because every day I show up… I give myself one hour just for me, just to get stronger and because that makes me better, then I’m a better mom.  When you have people to take care of, it’s important that you take care of yourself.”  -Gretchen, co-owner of System of Strength


“I wake up early to get in some ME time. As a mom, its super important to take care of YOU. You can’t give from an empty cup.” @Fit4momDublin


So how can we add more “me” time into our routines?

First, figure out what recharges you.  Hot Yoga? Group run chats? Reading one book per month like @wanderlustontherun? Think about what you can do that both fills you up and makes you a healthier version of yourself. Then make time to do more of those things.

Next, schedule it! Get those weekly pamperings on the calendar so you can make them happen! Some ideas to get you started…

  • Become a morning person and do the workout before the kids get up (read our previous morning posts Rise & Run and Conquer that early morning workout).
  • Take the bath after the kids are in bed. Maybe with a book, a glass of wine or maybe you just close your eyes and relax.
  • Enlist a buddy you can swap play dates with – they watch them while you #selfcare and then you switch!
  • Find a gym or fitness studio that has childcare – The Dublin Rec Center, Barre 3 in Powell & RISE! Fitness Community in UA are some, just to name a few.
  • Incorporate your littles into your workout… if you have the patience. 🙂
    • Check out a Fit 4 Mom workout, and in the process, meet a whole community of other fit-minded mommas like you!
    • Stroller pushing will make you that much stronger
    • Do some yoga with your little one(s)
    • As they get older, kids can run with you! Check out the RRCA suggestions on strategies and distances for youth running.

Your kids (and family and co-workers and friends and any other human in your life) need you to be the best version of yourself.  So make time to take care of that self.

You deserve it.

Baby yoga-3

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Cap City Kick Off // Will run for food & drinks!

The most popular length of a half marathon training schedule is 12 weeks…. which means it is time to get started on that Cap City Half Marathon training! We’ve got a couple fun things we are attending and/or planning for the upcoming weekend involving running and then of course, some treats after.  Hope to see you!

Saturday, February 3

  • Hilliard/Galloway Sole Sisters (subgroup of MRTT Columbus) Ice Cream Run // Did you know the first Saturday in February is often referred to as “National Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day?!” Well, let’s burn some calories, then celebrate!  Meet at Cookie Dough Creamery in Worthington at 6AM,  head out to the OT for 6ish miles, then meet back around 7AM when they open for ice cream! One of our friends and regular runners, Amanda, is helping lead the way on this, let us know if you have questions & we can direct them to her. This is a free social run, all are welcome. Pictured below, their Run+Ice Cream from last year!

Ice Cream Run

Sunday, February 4

  • M3S Sports 5th Line 5K // 10AM  – not many spots left, sign up soon! Email or IG message us for a $10 discount code if you haven’t already registered!


  • Living Fit Columbus & Rocky Fork Running Club Cap City Kick Off! // Meet up with peeps from both of these run crews to celebrate the twelve week count down to the Cap City races!  Meet at Land Grant Brewing Co (official beer of Cap City!) at 2PM, head out around the Scioto Mile for 6ish miles, then meet back for drinks, photos and social time.  This is a free social run, all are welcome.

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Yoga brings people together // Upcoming donation class & guest blogger

Guest blogger //Addy Passaro

My yoga journey began when I started working for lululemon in November of 2016. I didn’t do yoga at the time, but loved wearing yoga pants! I only liked to do workouts that included lifting weights or running on the treadmill. It wasn’t until a month after I worked there that I did my first hot yoga class. I had no clue what to expect. I was the person who showed up in long sleeves and long leggings. Halfway through the class, all I wanted to do was rip my shirt off and run outside! That’s when I realized that working out wasn’t just running or lifting weights. That was also the day I became addicted to yoga.

Over the next couple months, I was trying to get my yoga fix not just once, but twice a day. I not only felt physically great, but my days started and ended on a more positive note. Looking back, I never thought my yoga journey would come to where it is now. I am currently completing my RYT-200 hour at V Power Yoga of Columbus with Erin Lombardo. As part of yoga teacher training, we get to share the gift of yoga through a donation-based yoga class to support a cause we are passionate about.

This Sunday I will be teaching a yoga class to benefit Marysville teacher and coach, Aaron Peitsmeyer and his fight with cancer. Aaron was diagnosed with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma. It affects about 20,000 to 25,000 in the United States per year. His fight with cancer has required him to step away from teaching and coaching to go through treatment. His treatment also requires travel to New York for doctors appointments, which all add up. All of the money raised Sunday will go to helping Aaron pay his medical expenses. The class is $20 at the door. Join me to pack the field house for Poses for Peits to support Aaron in his fight with cancer!


YTT Donation Class Details​:

  • Date: Sunday, January 28​
  • Time: 2:30PM-3:30PM, doors open at 2:00PM​
  • Location: Marysville High School Field House – 800 Amrine Mill Road, Marysville, OH 43040​
  • Cost: $20 donation to offset Aaron’s medical bills​

I cannot believe just over a year since the beginning of my yoga journey, I have the opportunity to teach this class!  Supporting Aaron and his fight with cancer combines so many of my passions. One day I hope to bring a yoga studio and community space to my hometown of Bellefontaine. Yoga isn’t just a physical practice, it brings people together. This is why I’ve grown to love yoga so much.

I look forward to sharing my love of yoga to support Aaron, and hope to see you on Sunday!



Author Bio // Addy Passaro is a yoga lover with a Masters in Exercise Science. She work as an Athletic Trainer, as well as a lululemon educator. Aside from yoga and work, she loves dogs, quilting and spending time with her boyfriend, Quincy, family and friends.

Rise & Run // Why I am TRYING to become a morning person

I am soooo not a morning person.  Like on a scale of 1 to 10, I give early morning wake ups a ZERO. When I was younger, I got my mom a shirt that said I don’t do mornings… or maybe it was a coffee mug? Either way, I lived by that motto most of my life. I’d rather stay in bed & have the sun naturally wake me, unless my little ones wake me first, which is common these days. I’m usually up too late the night before trying to “get it all done,” which is the main reason I hit snooze about half the time that 5AM GO RUN alarm goes off. Then the cycle repeats itself the next day.

—> BUT <—

I am trying hard to become more of a morning person.

Like really hard.

I’ve started with a goal of one 5AM wake-up-and-workout session per week. I’ve been doing this since October with the help of a friend (thanks Jen!) and have been *mostly* successful. Soon, I’ll move onto two days per week. Who knows, maybe someday it will become the new me?!

Why on earth would a night owl of 30some years try to convert?

Three reasons why I’m trying to become a morning person

1. Family first. // My family’s schedule has gotten a little crazier as our littles have started activities (soccer, swimming, gymnastics… you know the drill), so some times fitting in a sweat session after work just isn’t possible. My mom-friends who had kids before me all said I’d have to become a morning person someday if I wanted to “fit it all in” and I hate to say it, but they were right! I also work full time as a high school teacher so since I’m gone all day, I get a little mom guilt if I leave several nights a week to go run, yoga, etc.  If I get it done in the morning before they wake, they don’t even know the difference! And then the evening is free to hang with them. 🙂

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Winter family fitness nights include playing “chase” & doing Cosmic Kid’s Yoga!

2. Military mindset. // “Start your day with a task completed.” This principle of success comes from the book, Make Your Bed – little things that can change your life… and maybe the world, by Admiral McRaven, U.S. Navy retired. My principal, or as you’d call him in the business world, “BOSS,” let me borrow this quick read and the first chapter is one of my favorites. A simple morning task like making my bed – or getting in a workout – gives me a feeling of accomplishment and helps get my head in the right place for the day.


3. Runner’s high. That rush of energy. A blast of endorphins. Whatever you want to call it, starting the day off on a healthy note often energizes me & wakes me up better than a venti latte. It also helps me think more mindfully about my nutrition and water intake that day. And the #afterburn that OTF always talks about is a nice little added bonus.

So now that I’ve stated the WHY, what about the HOW?

One of our runners and friends, Jen B, previously guest blogged about “how to fit it all in” by getting in those early AM sessions. Her tips are all spot-on and the ones that are helping me the most are scheduling/planning out my week, going to bed early & setting a fancy alarm. I also asked for some visibility gear for Christmas for those dark winter mornings & usually enlist the help of friends – Jen especially! – to meet up for early workouts as accountability partners. Got a minute? Read her full post, Five Ways to Conquer That Early Morning Workout.  She speaks from experience – she got in FIVE workouts at 5AM last week. My hero. 🙂


Five miles at 5AM in my spiffy light up vest! 

For our Living Fit Columbus Winter Challenge, one of the bonus options this week is to get in three workouts before the sun comes up. So 5AM, I’m hoping to see you three times before Sunday! Okay, its almost 10PM… off to bed!

What are your reasons for rising early?  How do you make yourself do it? We want to know! 

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Tour of Columbus // RISE Fitness Community

Tour of Columbus – RISE Fitness Community, Upper Arlington, Ohio 

[by t gellenbeck]

We have toured a LOT of fitness places around Columbus. Some are “okay” and we are glad we made the visit to check it out. Some are so good we blog about them and include on our Tour of Columbus recaps and visit now and then.

And rarely, we fall in LOVE and will continue going back time and time again.

This has only happened with a handful of places in Cbus since the onset of this blog four years ago. You probably already know that we are obsessed with VPower Yoga, Harbor Yoga and Orange Theory Fitness. Well, add another studio to that short list!

I started attending RISE Fitness Community for their December challenge last month and absolutely fell in love! This is a runner’s dream and the perfect combination of running, speed work, cross training (variety of options including HIIT classes and runner specific strength training in run club classes) and knowledgable coaches that are all runners themselves.


Although there are a wide variety of run classes and HIIT classes, my work and family schedule has only allowed me to try two different types so far, Rise Run Club (RRC) Power and RRC Precision. As a distance runner, I’m (typically) good about getting in the mileage & the long runs with friends… but I’m always looking to add strength training and speed work to my routine. RISE offers the perfect combination!

RRC Precision is an hour long class where you rotate in 10 minute intervals between the treadmill and your yoga mat, doing runner-specific strength training and floor exercise intervals. RRC Power is very similar, but you do the 30 minute treadmill portion first, then hit the yoga mat for the second 20-30 minutes.  Both classes include a warm up and cool down. Get there a tad early and you can likely get in some additional time on the treadmill as you warm up!  I can almost always count on getting in 3.5 – 4 miles or more.

All of the RRC classes have the option to utilize heart-rate based training. Strap that bad boy on and push yourself into the four different zones throughout your workout! Your trainer will guide you through the session and like any good run coach, will also motivate you, believe in you… and PUSH you! I seriously feel like I could go conquer a marathon after I’ve finished a workout here.  Although I don’t plan to any time in the future. 🙂

I’m excited to check out other classes, especially RISE & RENEW – you start on the treadmill, and then end with a yoga session. Seriously?  My two favorite things! This is the best combination since peanut butter and jelly!!

There are also HIIT classes that take place in the front studio and do not include treadmill running. I haven’t taken this class, but we did a few workouts in the front area…


When I told the owners, Michelle Flemming & Jessica Kopp, that I wanted to rave about RISE in a blog post, they were willing to answer a few questions for me. I love including things from the owner’s perspective!  Here are a few tidbits from co-owner, Michelle…

Why did you start RISE?

“We started RISE to help more people find health. We believe that each person is on Earth for a purpose and if they are healthy, they can do it with zeal. The world is a better place when people are doing what they are meant to do. Thomas Jefferson said, “Exercise and recreation are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary, because health is worth more than learning.” The root of everything is having a healthy body, mind and soul. RISE is working towards that every day.

From a business perspective, we wanted to be the first to open a running studio in Columbus so that we could expand our love of running to our programming. Running studios are popping up around the country just like cycling did ten years ago. We love being a part of this action-packed opportunity.”


Me with co-owner, Michelle Flemming

What is your experience as a runner and how does that help make RISE specifically beneficial for runners?

“Both Jess and myself have been runners for a long time. We were athletes growing up in sports that required at least 5 miles per game. After our sport specific days came to an end, we both desired a physical challenge, to feel strong again and of course a little competition (even if it just with ourselves). We ran for exercise and for mental health, but when RISE Run Club came about, we discovered another level of training. We are healthier and stronger athletes than we were ever before, and the best part is that our RISE athletes are actually in better shape than us! Although it is a pride check to get out run by one of our athletes, it is the exact reason that we do what we do: to bring out the best in people.”

Can you give us a quick rundown of the classes and programs you offer to benefit runners?

“We offer RISE Run Club and HIIT IT classes all day, every day of the week and our athletes reach their goals using any combination of the two. In addition to these large group exercise programs, twice annually we offer a half & full marathon training program (July & February). We love helping our athletes set a lofty goal, overcome obstacles, and cross that start line. The finish line is just some extra icing, and it is only after our runners do it that they realize the journey was just as sweet as the glorious finish.”


Both owners and all the instructors we’ve met so far are kind, genuine and super motivational. They want you to work hard towards your goals, whether its getting into running, training for your first 5K or trying to qualify for Boston. That last one’s not on my personal bucket list, but I’m only half crazy!!

If you want to check it out, they offer first class free and have ongoing specials, challenges & more.  Tomorrow is FRIEND FRIDAY so bring a new training buddy to sweat it out with you and you’ll both receive a free class added to your account!

I really can’t say enough good things about this studio, the workout(s) and the people. I will be a long-term athlete here and can’t wait to have them help me cross many finish lines over the coming years… starting with th



Left to right // Jen (new member!), Jessica (co-owner), & me in the obnoxious neon 🙂

Choosing a half marathon training plan

So you’ve decided to run a half marathon.  Maybe it’s your first, maybe it’s your 100th. Perhaps you want to just finish (without crawling up the hills, my husband’s goal for Knoxville) or maybe you want to PR. Regardless of your level and ability, we all have one goal in common… to cross that finish line! And over the next however-many-months, you will want to build mileage, consider cross & strength training, stretching, hydrating, sleep, rest, recovery… and on and on.  Enter TRAINING PLAN!

Choosing the right training plan is important and although many have commonalities, others have specific focuses. I think the most important thing is to find one that fits YOUR LIFE. If you LOVE to run and have time for high mileage plans, find one that will get you into those peak weeks of 30 miles (we’re talking intermediate half training over here, these mileage goals will vary too!) If you’d rather just do three “quality” runs per week to have time for yoga and cross training, do that (then weekly mileage may be closer to 20-25 at peak weeks). Find something that balances your interests, goals and overall life balance.


Here are five favorite half marathon intermediate training plans…

  • Capital City Intermediate Plan
    • This one has four runs per week with a peak long run of 13 miles prior to race day. It also has an active recovery day (great for yoga!) and two rest days.  It is 17 weeks, but could be modified down if you are already running.
  • Columbus Running Company
    • This one is similar, with four runs per week and a long run of 12 miles prior to race day.  I like that this one has you taper a bit earlier… I like to feel well rested on race day! One cross train day and two rest days. This one is over 18 weeks (I think?!), but again, can be modified if you are already running. CRC also has weekly group runs & virtual coaching – contact them today!
  • Hal Higdon
    • Higdon is a popularly utilized training option found on the internet. He has a wide variety of intermediate plans ranging from five runs per week to his HM3 plan, with three key runs per week.  Most of Higdon’s plans are 12 weeks. You can find some that are based on mileage (my preference) and others that are based on total run time.
  • Sage Rountree
    • We met Sage at a run+yoga workshop at Go Yoga a couple years ago. She pairs our love of running and yoga, combining the two in her training plans. I’ve not done her half plan, but did follow it for a 10K and was pleased with my finish time! Her plan combines five days of running with one day of yoga and one day of rest. It is a 12 week plan.
  • Coach Jenny Hadfield 
    • I’ve not done this plan, but have heard great things about Coach Hadfield and have listened to some of her podcasts. Jenny’s intermediate plan is 14 weeks and includes four runs per week.

Moral of the story – every runner is different.  Find a plan that works for YOU and tweak as needed.  I’ve personally run 17 half marathons as of this post… so I’ve created my own training plan over time that combines my love of running+yoga, as well as my need for a day of rest here and there. Some races I’ve run for “fun” and I add in more rest, while others have been a PR chase and I added in more mileage and/or speed work. I try for a minimum of three quality runs per week (speed or hills, tempo and long run), but like to add in a 4th day of running when I can.  My peak weeks are around 25 miles, but I make time for 1-2 hours of yoga (sometimes at home, sometimes at a fav local studio), and try for an additional hour of runner specific strength training (LOVE places like Orange Theory Fitness and RISE Fitness Community, combining running+strength). 


More to come on “using” that training plan in another post! I like to track my workouts in a training log & then tweak training as needed.  Remember to be flexible and “listen to your body” as you plug along through the next 12-17 weeks! 

Disclaimer – these intermediate plans are geared towards runners that have been running for a while and are a bit “seasoned.”  Coach Hadfield states on her site, “The Intermediate Half Marathon Program is best suited for those who have been running at least 3-5 times per week for 45-60 minutes for at least one year and have completed a half marathon in the past year.” If you are running a half for the first time, find a plan that is geared more towards beginners.

So…. what plan do you like? What have you used in the past? We want to know! And good luck this season, we hope to see you out on the trail!

Christmas gifts I’m loving…

As I sit here and watch my kids play with their new toys ~ most popular were the trampoline-turned-ball-pit, plethora of baby doll stuff and the Razor scooters ~ I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that were under our tree this Christmas! Time with family, a week off work and celebrating baby Jesus are the real gifts (of course)… but a few running & fitness related items are always fun to head into the new year! Many thanks to Santa, my hubs and our parents for helping me prepare for another 365 days of merry miles & time on the mat. 🙂

My Top Five Fitness Gifts of 2017

1. lululemon “The Towel” – I seem to be one of the few at Harbor Yoga without one of these! With their 103 degree temps, having an extra layer to absorb the sweat seems like a great idea.


2. Training Journal – I’m big on journaling and recording my miles and workouts.  To me, its super motivational, and can help with goal setting & planning out your week. This could be a blog post on its own!  I’ve used several different types over the years ~ BELIEVE training journal, plain lined journal ~ and this year asked for an Erin Condren planner to try something new.  It has spots for writing goals, motivational quotes (which I’m a sucker for), weekly planning and more!


3. Gift cards and a shopping trip with my mom – I’ll be heading to Dick’s & lululemon to start, searching for a new running coat. I am NOT a cold weather runner, so once it hits 20s or lower, I’m definitely in a jacket. I’ve been eyeing the luluemon Down for a Run and the Northface Thermoball Active Jacket.  I currently have the lululemon Fleecy Keen run jacket that I’ve had for a few years… LOVE it and want a white or more reflective option as well. Let me know if you have any insight!

4. Destination trip details!! –  Eeeek!  One of my absolute favorite things is to travel! Isn’t it fun to explore new places, especially while running?! Stocking stuffers included…

  • Registration to the Knoxville Half Marathon in March – this will be my 10th state and we are excited to spend a few days in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina for our spring break this year.
  • Denver Running Tour – we are headed to Denver in July for our anniversary (my first time!) and we are scheduling a City Running Tour! I originally was hoping to do the half marathon while we were there, but since its a short trip, this is a good compromise. I’m hoping to run stairs or do yoga at Red Rocks as well, it’s come highly recommended!

5. Hubby running Cap City – so this one wasn’t wrapped up under the tree, but within the last few days he’s committed to running the Cap City half marathon! This has become one of my top five gifts this week. 🙂 He will train with me over the next few months and will start at least the first half of the race with me in the two hour pace group… then he may pull ahead and finish strong. This will be his second half marathon and compared to the Flying Pig, will be flat & fast.  I look forward to the time we’ll spend during training miles, the race and the after-party!!

Other gifts this year included a NoxGear visibility vest, Honey Stinger fuel, some new water bottles, Nike running gloves, Nike running vest, oodles of running socks (which my husband will likely steal, even though they are pink), a renewed subscription to Runner’s World and a new book, Run Less, Run Faster.  Runners are easy to shop for, in my opinion.  Anything that helps us stay warm, stay focused or just look “put together” while we sweat gets an A+ from me!


Completely unrelated to running – my mom wrapped up a coupon for our first Disney Cruise on spring break of 2019! This will be our first and I’m super excited! More on this in the future.  Can you turn a cruise into a running blog post?! Hee hee.

Hope your Christmas or holiday was a fun one! What great running, yoga or fitness gifts did you get (or give)?

Now time to put all this stuff to good use and start focusing on those 2018 fit goals!

Cap City Half Marathon… Who is coming with us!?

I’m excited to be signed up for the Capital City Half Marathon again this year!  I’ve done the half a few times and last year, squeaked by the bad weather and big storm by PR-ing in the quarter (whoop whoop – gotta love a PR!)


And even more exciting… I was asked to be an official “Voice of Columbus” for this year’s event! I’ve lived in Columbus my entire life (well, other than that random semester I moved to the University of Wisconsin) and my love of all things Cbus runs deep.  The Cap City event is having its 15th anniversary and I’m SO very excited to be a part of it! I’ve always loved M3S events, especially the after parties, so much so that we’ve dedicated a page just to them HERE!


Hope you’ll join us this year! As of now, we plan to stick with the two hour pace group and see that 1:59 on the finish line clock. Sign up before Dec 31st (or put it on your list – last minute gift idea without the hassle of long lines!) and save $10.  Use code 18VOCLIVINGFIT to save an additional $10 off registration.

Okay, heading to bed. Only two shopping days until Christmas and only 126 days until the starting line… gotta rest up! 🙂  Stay tuned for discount codes, training tips, and little doses of inspiration over the next few months!