Guest bloggers

Cbus student athlete profile [Thelma Agyekum]

Thelma Agyekum | Olentangy Orange High School Pioneer | Lewis Center, OH

[Guest post blogger S Palmer]

Sports are often the highlights of our four year high school career. It bonds us with our upperclassmen as our awkward freshman selves try out – attempting to make a name that people will remember. In 2012 Thelma Agyekum was the name that they had happened to remember. Making Varsity Track her freshman year, is just the tip of the iceberg of what Agyekum has achieved! Track MVP, Delaware County Champ, seven broken school records, captain,… It’s overwhelming. But where is the time for this?

I know being in high school and doing homework, and preparing for ‘the rest of our lives’, can get a little bit messy. Though, for many students, extra-curriculars, athletics and fitness are equally important during these times. “Playing sports gives me adrenaline that I need.” said Agyekum. “I love the rush when I race against different people or play on the field with others.” Her love of fitness doesn’t end there – eating lots of julluf rice, kenkya, and fish keep her stomach happy (and sounds really good right now).  She also enjoys working out at Planet Fitness in her free time.

Fortunately, all of Thelma’s hard work and training has already paid off this season.  She is participating in the indoor state track meet this Saturday, March 3rd in Akron!  Another great accomplishment to add to her list!  She is also looking forward to the outdoor season and the chance to attend the outdoor state competition in June.

Sometimes there’s not a lot of reason as to why we do play sports besides the fact that we picked it out when we were six years old.  We asked Thelma why sports? “I chose soccer and track because my dad introduced me to it and, I couldn’t stop playing these sports. I fell in love with them because of my dad.”  Agyekum answered. Parents actually inspire a lot of people to play the sports they do, and also train as hard as they do.  It’s also the natural drive that takes over when the adrenaline kicks in and gets us pumping – and it’s what gets Thelma Agyekum pumping too.

Five FIT facts about Thelma: 

  • Favorite speed workout:  Hill repeats
  • Favorite track event:  100 meter dash
  • Fondest memory about track or soccer:  When she won the Delaware county 100m event
  • Typical workout:  warmup, 300 repeats, 200, 100, core, cool down, stretch
  • Something we should know about you:  She had to overcome an injury (broken femur) during her 7th grade track season; it taught her to persevere and never give up!

Thelma Agyekum at the OSU meet (center)


Photo credits to: SconIon

Sweat session recovery: Protein smoothie [guest blog post]

[Guest post by J Bondurant]
Protein after a workout promotes muscle recovery. Whether I workout first thing in the morning, mid-day or in the evening, I almost always have a green protein smoothie after my workout.  It fills me up just enough, and I sneak in lots of greens.  eat-your-greens
Recipe for protein smoothie
• 1 banana, frozen
• 2 cubes greens
• unsweetened vanilla almond milk (use enough for desired consistency)
• 1 scoop of [chocolate] protein (16 g)
Since I am a texture person, I prefer the greens and banana frozen so that my smoothie is like a milkshake.  The bananas are easy – I simply freeze them individually in sandwich bags. Greens certainly can be bought frozen from the store; however, I like to use fresh greens that I puree and freeze myself. Not only is it more economical that way, but also the greens are much smoother in your drink. I buy 2 large bags of a kale/spinach combination at Costco, puree it in the food processor (add a little water), freeze the puree in ice cube trays, and then store the cubes in a freezer bag for several weeks at a time.
Perhaps the biggest key to a great smoothie though is the right tool.  I absolutely love my Nutribullet 900.  In the medium size cup, I add the banana and greens first, fill to the line with almond milk, and then add the scoop of protein.  It comes out perfect every time.
Eat your greens photo credit to

“Scatterbrain” December

[Guest post by L Nguyen]

Merry Christmas!  Holiday 2014

The “Holidays” this year seemed to have creeped up faster than usual.  It felt like it was just yesterday we were out running the trails at 6:30pm in daylight on our Thursday ptown runs.  The last few weeks have been a whirlwind – they went by so fast!  Personally, I have been so busy that I haven’t been on track with my current marathon training and missed so many [Harbor] yoga classes I wanted to go to.

I am sure we can all relate.  The holiday shopping, family to entertain, traveling, etc.  It makes everything feel like a big blur.  Not having time (yes, it sounds like another excuse) to run or do yoga definitely has made me feel a bit wonky these last few weeks.  My mind seemed more scatterbrained and there were times I was restless and SO eager for that run or hot yoga.  It’s probably the longest break I have had since the Columbus Marathon.

During my 20 mile run last week, I was reminded by fellow runners that it’s absolutely okay to not have “the best” training season or to not quite be “on schedule.”  Sometimes you just need that quick refresher.  I honestly thought I might not finish that long run (I hadn’t done any short runs the previous several days prior nor eaten a healthy diet) but I finished!  That invigorating run also reminded me to slow down, breathe, and be mindful.  Running and yoga keep me focused in other facets of life.  As crazy as it sounds, I find myself more exhausted when I haven’t had an intense run or sweat session.

I have come to realize that even though I have been a bit “off course,” my focus is relatively the same… to stay as active as I can, even if it’s not crazy level active.  We have probably mentioned this a million times- listen to your body.  When you’re exhausted and feel scatterbrain – your body is just telling you something (i.e. get some sleep/rest ).

Enjoy the simple everyday things.

Don’t worry too much about missing one or multiple workouts.

And definitely let yourself enjoy the holiday season.


Running in the cold [and dark!]

Happy Friday friends & fellow runners/yogis!  images

We Columbus-folk are sitting prettier than Cleveland right now… the radio said they got a FOOT of snow yesterday?  Christine & I hit up PAI yoga last night while Amanda and others were at Harbor yoga… hot yoga in the cold winter is the best!

And then, there’s Lan.  She texted me at 7AM to say “I ran this morning and survived! Brrrrrr, its cold though!” Which reminded me, I still hadn’t posted her most recent guest post about running in these temperatures…

So have a happy Friday and enjoy a little morning read with your coffee.   And don’t forget to bundle up!

Running in the cold (and dark) [by L Nguyen]

It is now officially that time of the year again when it gets dark early, on top of cold weather.  The first thing most people would prefer to do is get cozy on the couch, next to a fireplace, with a cup of hot cocoa (or whatever your choice beverage may be!).  Me, on the other hand, I have made a decision to train for another marathon.  Crazy?  Yes. I know. There is that thrill in running.  The excitement for new running shoes, discovery of a different running path, an updated music playlist.  It goes on and on. The one thing no one ever raved about, however, was running in the winter….in Ohio.

We are currently a few weeks out since The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon.  Several of us are getting back to the groove of running or taking a break to do other fit activities [Living Fit Columbus is now alternating Saturday runs with some HOT yoga!].  With the cold and snow around the corner, I have been working on finding a sweet spot in terms of layering, depending on the current outside temperatures.  Also important is mapping out running paths where there will be a coffee shop or something of that sort nearby for pit-stops from the wind, cold, etc.

One of our Living Fit running gurus, Deedra, has suggested layers and layers for top and bottom.  So here are some tips I’ve come up with based on recent experiences:

  • Running in the dark:  Assume cars cannot see you.  Safety first. Wear reflective gear.
  • Mid 50’s: Capris bottoms. Tank top. Very thin top. Normal running socks.
  • Mid 40’s: Full length running tights. Tank top. Very thin top. Light zip jacket (if you get cold easily). My Northface fleece is optional, it may get warm for this, but better to layer and take off! Smart wool socks. Headband or something to cover ears.
  • Mid 30’s: Same as mid-40’s but with a hooded sweatshirt in lieu of a light zip.  Double legging bottoms if your bum gets cold easily. Ear warmers/headband. Gloves/mittens.
  • Mid 20’s:  Double (maybe triple!) those bottoms or your bum will be COLD!  I do two pairs of running tights, shorts over tights, smart wool socks, sports bra, tank, thin top, thicker top, hoodie and of course an outer layer such as my Northface fleece.  Ear warmers/headband. Gloves/mittens.

The day of the marathon, I went out and purchased lululemon’s vinyasa scarf (I had been thinking about that one for weeks and it has been worth the investment!).  It comes in handy during the 20’s & 30’s temperature range.  I can pull it up and down as needed and the fabric breathes easily.

Some of my favorite cold weather pieces:

Maybe December will be mild for the sake of marathon training?  Maybe running in the cold will actually be enjoyable?  We shall definitely find out!

Let us know if you have any tips on staying warm when running in the winter!  We would love to hear what you think!

Marathon training – what we learned

[Guest posts by L Nguyen & M Ahmed]

L Nguyen:  What we learned from marathon training

Marathon (n.): a long distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km).

Why would anyone in their mind be crazy enough to run this distance?  There are a million reasons we can tell you, however, one of the biggest  is simply our passion for running. Most training programs are an average of 16 weeks long. Yes, that is a long period of time- 1/3 of the year.  While training for the Columbus Nationwide Marathon, we have really learned a lot about ourselves.  Here are some lessons learned;

  1. Listen to your body! Keeping a balance between life and work can get exhausting some weeks. While going on a run when you’re stressed and tired may sound like a good idea, on occasion, it may be better to either cut back some mileage or just take a rest day. Yes, to a runner, that is devastating news. We have learned to move on and make our next runs better.
  2. Nutrition. Towards the middle of training, mileage begins to get intense (average 20-30+ miles depending on the week). As runners, people think we will eat everything in sight (and we have). However, it is important to intake the right foods including fruits, veggies, proteins and carbs.   During runs, carry gels, blocks, chews, snacks-
    whatever works to curb mid-run hunger.
  3. Weight gain. Both of us had a mini life crisis when we realized that around the first round of our 20 milers, we had packed on a few pounds. It. Will. Happen. We were reminded by our coach that it will be ok! And it was. The extra weight went away right at the start of taper.
  4. Accountability. 16 weeks of marathon training does take a chunk of time. Finding accountability buddies keeps us motivated and gives you an ongoing cheerleader.
  5. Shoes. Running shoes do get expensive. But then again, so does a medical bill for a knee injury. We both listened to our bodies when our shoes became worn out. We know that we should get a new pair on average every 6 months or so, depending on your mileage. We always think we can outwear our shoes a little longer. A new pair definitely makes long distances bearable and pain free!
  6. Running buddies. Find a running buddy for those long weekend runs. We learned this one much later in the training. But better late than never! When running a long distance anywhere from 13mi+, it can get boring regardless of scenery. Having a running buddy to chat with definitely makes the miles go by faster. Perhaps find a local running group… maybe Living Fit Columbus!
  7. Yoga. Long miles of pounding the pavement do a number on a runner’s body. Often, we forget to stretch after runs, which results in knots. We found yoga to be our solution to not only stretch, but also get some cross-training workouts into our repertoire.
  8. Have fun!!! That feeling of accomplishment after every run has taught us why we began training in the first place… To have fun and enjoy ourselves. Running is one of our favorite hobbies.


This was Lan’s second marathon and a new PR!  Here she is, a proud finisher, ringing the PR gong.

M Ahmed:  Running my first marathon

There’s something amazing about seeing and living the world through a fresh pair of eyes. Whether it’s a baby mesmerized by the new sounds and colors that come with the rustling of the fall leaves, experiencing excitement and success as you reach your destination without backtracking in New York City, or having a friend witness their first Buckeye game with the infamous dotting of the “I”… Our first experiences always leave a special mark and become our reference point for the future. We sometimes take for granted those “ah-ha” moments and the astonishment that comes with accomplishing a goal as things slowly turn into habit.
It was not too long ago I never thought I could run again let alone a marathon, and I hope I never lose that sense of “so this is what it feels like.” But the process of getting there was something I reflected on throughout the race.
Everyone asked why a marathon, why this race. I definitely had my own personal reasons for starting the marathon. But by the end of the race, I found it to be for something even greater than myself. At one point…I think mile 18, I started thinking…”I really should’ve turned left and finished this race 5 miles ago.” But then somehow I would keep going because at each mile of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, there would be a picture that was dedicated to another child that was battling the fight against various illnesses. The miracle mile was an emotional stretch being reminded of those that lost their lives to the fight. But seeing the families and how they honored each child, supported each of us runners and stood out in the cold for hours to remind us…it was a humbling experience to say the least. I started the race thinking, “Oh I wish maybe there was a sign someone I knew would be holding for me”, but found an ARMY of supporters cheering all of us to the finish.
I realized this race was about something even greater…I got to run through the most beautiful parts of this city seeing humanity at its finest as the volunteers would help refuel us, the police kept us out of harms way, the Red Cross was there to get us back up and the masses out to leave us candy and motivational posters to read along the way. The camaraderie amongst the runners was truly something to be witnessed. Even leading up to the training, yoga instructors and running enthusiasts were incredibly supportive and willing to help any way they could. It was an event that brought the community and it’s people together to make a positive impact on this world when despite so many times we hear the opposite.
This was one small goal I wanted to accomplish, but with all those that ran, it was a heroic effort to help this world and its people. It’s a beautiful thing to see strangers come together and wanting everyone to reach their goals and support an effort outside their own. . I really learned during this race what it means to live for something greater than myself. And I hope I never forget this feeling.
Whether you’re starting your first 5k walk or training to be an ultrarunner… Sometimes finding a reason greater than our own is all the motivation we need to reach that finish! 🙂
image(2) Mahvish out on the course – working towards finishing her first marathon!
A note from Living Fit Columbus:

Mahvish and Lan are truly an inspiration to not only our fitness/running/yogi-ing group, but to all humans everywhere.  They are two of the most positive, ambitious, motivated women we know, yet remain humble and kind during the process.  We are very proud of their marathon finish and can’t wait to hear more about their FIT adventures in 2015!


Why I Run [Teresa Gellenbeck] & Run+Yoga challenge [days 22-24]

Hopefully you have been keeping up with the Run+Yoga challenge!  I know life gets busy and often the first thing you’ll push aside is exercise, but try to make it a priority, even if its just 20-30 minutes per day.  Your body & mind will thank you for it.  Its the last week, so try to finish strong!

Day 22 – Rest or XT

Day 23 – RUN

Day 24 – YOGA

Individual runs, some yoga poses [all over Columbus!] and lots of water have kept us busy the last few days.  Some of our group members have been doing some high mileage lately… if you’re looking for some yoga stretches, check out the new post by Christine Yu,  yogi turned runner, called Six Yoga Poses for Runners.


We are headed to PAI yoga tomorrow night after our group run, so we’ll be sweating it out in multiple ways.  Pictures to follow 🙂


#whyirun [tgellenbeck]

Several of my non-running friends cringe when I say ‘Why don’t you join us for a group run this week?’ This often leads to conversations about exercise and my own personal beliefs about running.  Here is why I run, in a nutshell…

  • In 2006, I hit a rough patch in my life.  I won’t bore you with the details, but running gave me something positive to focus on.  Instead of staying up late or indulging in unhealthy ways of coping with stress, I set out to become a distance runner. And that is just what I did. By 2008 I was in a much better place; I had completed my first marathon, met the man of my dreams and built several strong, lasting friendships.  Running helped me stay focused, stay positive and of course, stay FIT!
  • Running is one of the best overall workouts that exists.  I have always been a roller coaster with my weight; lose 10 pounds, gain 5.  Lose 15 pounds, gain 10.  Especially after the birth of my son, my body needs some hard core cardio to stay lean!  Running is a fat blaster, especially if you are willing to do interval training.  It keeps me in shape and allows me to be guilt-free when I indulge in the [occasional] chocolate dessert. 🙂
  • Its affordable!  No expensive gym membership.  Just a good pair of running shoes.
  • Its a social sport.  I can bring my son with me in our jogging stroller (if I’m up for a good workout!)  I can chat with running friends about their week, their yummy lasagne recipe, or the latest yoga class that we just HAVE to check out. I’ve met new people through running and grown closer to some I already knew.  One of my dearest running friends talked me into running my first marathon and two years and two PRs later, I was also the Godmother of her children.  Another running buddy later became a roommate for a year.  You really get to know people when you are training together 1, 2 even 5+ hours per week.  There isn’t much else to do on those long runs than talk, share your stories and get to know one another.
  • It allows me to set goals and work towards accomplishing them.  I have always been a list-maker.  I love making lists, then checking things off the list.  So a training schedule for a race is the ideal list-checking device!  Pick a race, make a training schedule, keep a copy on your fridge and watch your progress.  I also love to travel, so destination races are a way to check two things off the list at once… run a race and see a new place!

I could go on and on, probably coming up with 10-15 more reasons I run, but I’ll spare you 🙂  Thanks for reading!


Join us this month [National Yoga Month!] as we wrap up our Run+Yoga Synergy challenge.  

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.56.30 AM

Why I Run [Lan Nguyen]

Lan is one of our Living Fit Columbus and ptown runners.  We are excited to have her as our guest blogger this week.  Read more about her in our previous post 10 facts about Lan!

Here is her contributing post this week, telling us why she runs…

[LNguyen]  10356352_10202168799527994_5974605198722914465_n

Hi there, world!  Lan here.

This morning, I slept through my alarm and woke up late for my Saturday 12 mi run (I’m currently training for the Columbus Marathon in October).  Normally, to beat the heat, it’s been best to get out before the sun rises to squeeze those long miles in.  Today 8:30am would have to do.  Then I checked the humidity – 90%.  Oh my.

Fast forward – 3miles in, I had to stop and take a short break.  It was hot.  The sun was beating.  There was no breeze.  The first thing I wanted to do was quit, but I couldn’t.  Quitting is not an option.  Today is a 12 mile run and there’s no way I can go home and not finish my goal.

Running (and yoga too) has become a passion of mine over the last few years.  When I’m tired, I run/yoga.  When I’m stressed, I run/yoga.  It’s an outlet to think and clear the mind.  When I first started running, I would go a few miles and call it quits.  Overtime, the “quitting” turned into “Oh, only a few more miles to go!  No worries!”

My “why” to running is because it is a part of my lifestyle and method to mentally organize. 

So by my 9th mile, I was reminded of “why” I decided that a long run semi-mid morning was such a great idea.  The dedication, passion, and commitment I made to myself the day I signed up for the marathon (or any race in general) gives me reason to keep going.  The run was indeed challenging in hot weather, but it was worth it.   Now I get to enjoy my post-run green smoothie and I am one step closer to my recovery hot yoga session tomorrow!  

I’ll close with this quote, “The past is like an anchor holding us back.  You have to let go of who you are to become who you will be.”  


Harbor Yoga studio, one of our local Columbus favorites!


We encourage you to join us in September [National Yoga Month!] for our fun Run+Yoga Synergy challenge.  Who knows,  maybe you will discover a new passion and love for yoga and/or running!  Why not at least give it a try?

Check back soon for details!

Guest blogger – Cody McCague

Our first guest blogger!  

Cody McCague is a student-athlete at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio.  He is an avid baseball player, has his own website about fitness (a class project) and has been known to say “Nothing beats a good workout!” Cody has been featured in The Columbus Dispatch, THIS WEEK Community Newspapers and hopes to stay involved in sports & fitness during his college years.    

Olentangy Orange’s Cody McCague (20) throws an out at first


Cody offered to write a quick article post for today.  Here is what he had to say…

Five Tips ~ Getting “CUT” for Summer:

1) Prepare a weekly diet & meal plan – write each meal down so you can check them off.  Lean proteins (chicken, fish, eggs), vegetables and fruits should make up the bulk of the list.  Vegetables are a must!  Go to the store and get the food and ingredients from your weekly plan.  Prepare and package your meals for the week.

2) Do not let yourself eat past 9pm at night or this will be stored as fat. 😦

3) Exercise!  Try and get out for a jog or something that will keep you moving and burn some calories. Even a walk is better than nothing!  Do this daily, if possible.

4) Find yourself some inspiration to help push through (bathing suit season?).  My motto is, “Work hard now and it will pay off later.” 🙂

5) Remember, one cheat day a week wont hurt you ( just like eating only one healthy meal won’t benefit you).  I’ve been known to sneak some chocolate every now and then.

Good luck!

Olentangy Orange’s Cody McCague returns to home plate and teammates following his home run

Thanks Cody!  

We want to hear from our readers!  

What is your FIT Philosophy for Summer?  What is your FIT motto? What is your favorite cheat meal?  Commenting and sharing is caring!  

Photo credits to:  The Columbus Dispatch, THIS WEEK Community Newspapers