Post-cleanse follow up

The ten day (Advocare) cleanse was a success!  I felt AMAZING during those ten days, zero heartburn, lots of energy (whole foods, good sleep and a little Spark each morning) and managed to lose five pounds… only a few more to go to get to my pre-baby weight!  I won’t bore you with lots of details and we are heading to the beach here shortly, but here are a few highlights.

Eating Clean

This part was so much easier than I assumed it would be!  I would like to say I typically follow the 80/20 plan, eating “clean” 80% of the time with 20% sweets & such… but its probably more like 70/30, especially on weekends or vacations.  This plan helped me realize that whole, clean foods can be delicious and really nourish your body!  I was not hungry and the only thing I really missed was coffee.  Preparing and cooking can be time consuming, so I did allow myself a few splurges like a take-out kale salad from Harvest, a juice from Native after our run+yoga and a mid-week smoothie from Zest.  I also drank more water than usual, as well as lemon water.

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I really have stuck with the clean(er) eating, even after eight days of vacation!  Although the 10 day plan is 100% whole, clean foods, it made it easier for me to get back to 80/20.  I’d like to be 90/10 someday… but balance. 🙂   I hope to “eat to run” (eat whole foods that will fuel my runs) more than “run to eat” (eat cheats and sweets because I “earned” them after a run).  I’d also like to look into the book Run Fast Eat Slow this summer.

Exercise 

Like any health plan, exercise is vital!  During the ten days I tried to do some sort of activity every day, mostly running (short, long & speed sessions) with a mix of walking, biking and yoga.  We had our first summer run+yoga event and also attended our third annual FORE! Miler race.

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Supplements 

The Advocare plan has you take supplements pictured below (see previous post for details).  After the cleanse ended, I am continuing to take the Omega 3s (fish oil) and my regular multi-vitamin.  I plan to keep eating whole, clean foods as well, so that will get me all the additional fiber & nutrients my body needs to be healthy and fit.

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After thoughts 

I would 100% recommend this plan to anyone looking to detox, cleanse or lose those last stubborn few pounds.  Although you “can” do it every three months, I personally don’t plan to do it more than once per year.  Don’t do this plan if you are pregnant or nursing and always consult a health professional before doing any sort of drastic change to your normal routine.  Here’s to cleaner eating!

2017 Bike month & #bikeDublin recap

May was National Bike Month & we participated in the #bikeDublin challenge, riding over 50 miles around our community.  Some days were shorter 3-4 mile rides, some longer 7-8 mile rides and others were “Let’s drive to a park and let the kid/s ride their bikes while I/we run next to them.” I know 50 miles of biking is nothing to most cyclists, but I’m a runner and this was a new monthly mileage PR for me!

We had a great time trying to find the pins (our four year old son, JP, loved it!) and utilized various two and three-wheeled contraptions to get around.  Dublin really is a beautiful community… part of the reason my husband and I chose to come back to our roots and raise our own family here.  Here is a quick recap of our May adventures…placed in pin order (not chronological/date order).

Pin 1 – Ballantrae “Bunny” park – this pin went missing early on so we didn’t actually get to snap a picture with it.  We did an 8 mile ride, JPs furthest to date, and stopped at a few spots along the way including a picnic lunch.  JP loves his new WeeRide co-pilot bike trailer and so do we… his little legs can’t make it very far yet on his own bike!  Ballantrae has fountains for kids to run through and a few community playgrounds within biking distance.

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Pin 2 – Coffman Park – we came here at sunset and did a five mile ride roundtrip.  This is one of our favorite parks with two playgrounds and lots of bike/running paths.  Our 15 month old, Maddie, rode in the bike trailer attached to “dada’s” bike and JP rode on his own. Pin 2 CoffmanPin 2 Coffman parkPin 2 Coffman play

Pin 3 – Amberleigh Park – this is actually the first pin we found!  We came here to let the kids play and Maddie noticed the large sticker on the ground, starting our month long scavenger hunt!  Amberleigh is another favorite of ours, with a unique playground, a hiking trail into a wooded area and steps to go down by the river.  This trail also connects to the Dublin Rd path that our Living Fit run crew typically uses for group runs.  Pin 3 Amberleigh

Pin 4 – Kiwanis Riverway Park – wow what a beautiful place!  The park is actually on both sides of the river and we’d never been to this (east) side.  I wouldn’t normally refer to the Scioto River as “gorgeous” but it truly is here!  The riverwalk goes over beautiful green wetlands and would be a perfect place to visit at sunset.  Be forewarned, this was not a terribly friendly “bike” park.  We tried to access it the day prior on our bikes coming from Historic Dublin (we first looked for the pin on the west side of the river) but could not find a safe route through the Riverside drive roundabout.  We came back the next day with JP’s trike and he enjoyed riding all around the boardwalk.    Pin 4 RiverwayPin 4 Boardwalk

Pin 5 – Red Trabue Nature Reserve – this park is close to my heart!  Red Trabue is directly behind Gordon Farms apartments, where we lived prior to buying our house… where Joey proposed, where we raised our puppy and where we first lived as husband and wife!  We frequented this park almost daily and now its become one of my favorite spots for photography.  We biked here early one morning for another 8 mile ride and enjoyed breakfast in the park.  Pin 5 Red Trabue

Pin 6 – Field of Corn – This field is less than a mile from our house… so we stopped for ice cream after to get in another mile on our ride. 🙂  The corn field isn’t really a kid-friendly attraction (no playground and no bathrooms), but its an excellent place to #StopDropandYoga!  Pin 6 Field of CornPin 6 Field of Corn headstand

Pin 7 – Bishop’s Run & Glacier Ridge Metro Park – this was one of the stickers I really had to search for!  Google Maps had Bishop’s Run further south on Hyland Croy so we got a little turned around at first.  We brought Maddie’s trike and she “biked” around looking for the pin (okay, she can’t even pedal yet so more like she got pushed!) and I got in a run, crossing over to the trails and boardwalk at Glacier Ridge.  This was Memorial Day, so we also had gone on a family bike ride earlier that day, biking down to Historic Dublin to see the Veteran’s Memorial and firetrucks preparing for the parade.  Thank you to all who have served! #FreedomIsntFree Pin 7 Bishop's RunScreen Shot 2017-06-05 at 7.13.59 AMPin 7 morning ride

Pin 8 – Emerald Fields Park – We came here at sunset and JP wanted to show off his current favorite yoga pose, Namaste (he learned this at school during movement!) This was a JP bike day, while I got in a short run and “dada” played with Maddie at the playground.  The park has a giant playground, trails and a large restroom facility that is open seasonally.  Pin 8 Emerald Fields

Pin 9 – Emerald Park Tunnel – this is right on our almost daily trail that runs along Dublin  Rd.  Whether its biking with the family or running with the Living Fit girls, this is our go-to path for exercise and getting around Dublin!  The route/path from Starbucks in old Dublin to the north end up to Wendy’s in Shawnee Hills is 4 miles and has plenty of hills to get you a great workout.  We came here on Mother’s Day with “Gigi” and the kids in the bike trailer.  We didn’t have our helmets on for the pictures, but always remember bike safety out on the trails! 🙂 Pin 9 Emerald Parkway

Pin 10 – Avery Park – this was another pin that really made us search!  “Gigi” and JP biked around the perimeter of the park looking for it, while I ran what seemed like all over God’s creation.  Finally after 25 minutes of searching, we “cheated” and asked some other bikers if they had seen it… they directed us toward’s St Brigid church.  So after a three mile run/ride, we found it!  Avery has a great playground and is home to our Saturday morning soccer games.  Pin 10 Avery

 

More of our adventures…

Time to cleanse

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After being pregnant for almost 40 weeks and then nursing for almost 15 months, my body has been through the wringer for almost two full years and is still a little out of whack.  I’ve been exercising, eating “mostly” clean, drinking lots of water and attempting to get enough sleep.  But those pre-baby summer-white skinny crops are still snug.  Okay, they barely go up over my hips.  And although this blog isn’t about weight loss and being “skinny,” it is about being healthy, whole and happy.  And I’ll be a whole lot happier if I can get back into those skinny crops at some point. 🙂

I remained “sugar free” for 21 days when prepping for my wedding day back in 2011 and did a TLS 21-Day Challenge (cleanse) shortly after my first son stopped nursing in 2014, but this will be my first time trying Advocare.  It is pretty popular in the fitness arena here in Columbus so I figured, why not?  I’m always up for trying something new!

For this cleanse, I have to do the following for the next 10 days:

  • Start each morning with the probiotic supplement, 30 minutes before breakfast, and a large glass of water
  • Before one meal daily, drink the fiber supplement mixed with 4 ounces of fluids, followed by an additional 8-16 ounces of water.  The packet states drinking it with 8 oz, but some veterans suggested mixing it with 4 to get it down faster!
  • Take the Omegaplex (Omega-3 fatty acid supplement) twice daily
  • At bedtime, take the herbal cleanse caplets with a full glass of water
  • Remain coffee free (yikes!) but can replace my love-of-caffeine with Advocare’s Spark Energy vitamin & amino acid supplement

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As far as eating, just eat clean!  The thing I didn’t like about the TLS challenge was you couldn’t eat ANYTHING other than fruits and vegetables the first seven days.  I’m not a rabbit and I’m pretty active… I need protein!  The Advocare challenge allows you to have clean proteins and low GI complex carbs (in small portions and preferably early in the day) including sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal.  In addition to eating clean, there are some “don’t consume these” rules…

  • No coffee (or if absolutely needed, at least drink it black)
  • No alcohol
  • No processed foods (whole/real foods only)
  • No added sugars, salts, condiments, marinades, etc

So what will I miss?  Coffee, wine, Quest bars – in that order.  Waking up to a warm cup o’ Joe is the reason I get out of bed at 5:55AM.  So that will definitely be the hardest.  I’ll also miss dairy (yogurt and cheese) & chocolate, but I already try to limit those, so 10 days should be doable. If we weren’t going on vacation in early June, I may have tried the 24 day challenge, but I wanted to be done before we started our travels to Florida.  I mean, what’s vacation without a non-fat, no-whip, half caff, two-pump caramel latte?

I stocked up on fresh produce & clean snacks (nuts, hummus) and plan to boil a bunch of eggs.  I read this post “Tips for a successful 10 day Advocare Cleanse” and mentally prepared myself.

My mother-in-law is starting tomorrow, so at least I’ll have a partner in crime.  I plan to also replace one meal a day with my go-to green smoothie recipe and drink at least 75 ounces of water per day.  Wish me luck!

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Have you cleansed before?  Tried Advocare or a similar product?  Send us your tips & suggestions! 

May = #BikeMonth

First, let me say that I am not a ‘cyclist.’

I don’t have a fancy bike, don’t know the rules of the road and just found out a few days ago that biking isn’t as “social” as running (did you know when biking, you should not ride side by side and gab?!)  I don’t own those nicely padded biker shorts, although I hear they are super comfy.  And when I was a kid, helmets weren’t a thing.  But now, biker safety is a priority so I’m trying to be a good role model and started wearing one… just last week.  If you have tips on how to make a 15 month old keep hers on, send them my way.

BUT. I don’t have to be an expert to promote a fun month!

Our garage is full of various contraptions including three bikes, two trikes, a buggy/trailer and we just ordered a WeeRide co-pilot for our four year old (he’s been eagerly waiting for the package to come for days, I’m a sucker for free shipping!)  We enjoy cruising around Dublin as a family, seeing the sights, all while getting some fresh air & exercise. We live in an amazing community with TONS of bike paths – formally referred to by me as running paths.  Dublin has been awarded a “Bicycle Friendly Community Bronze” for several years from the League of American Bicyclists.

On a recent outing to Amberleigh park, we noticed a large sticker on the ground.

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We literally stumbled upon it and I’m glad my daughter took interest in it.  Come to find out, Dublin is promoting bike month with a fun scavenger hunt!  The campaign is called Brake Here for Bike Month & the website reads, “National Bike Month – Where will the ride take you in Dublin?”  Ten pins (stickers as my kids call them) have been placed around the parks and miles of bike paths.  Find all ten, post to your favorite social media platform with the hashtag #bikeDublin and be entered to win… ready for it?  A Trek bike! I won’t retire my retro looking Schwinn for good, but maybe I would take more of an interest in duathlons!

We are halfway through and have found five of the pins, visiting Amberleigh, Kiwanis RiverWay, Field of Corn, Emerald Parkway tunnel and Coffman Park.  Follow us on Instagram to check out our biking adventures @LivingFitColumbus and make sure to tag us as you make your own adventures!  Ride on Columbus!

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Cap City 2017 Recap

Its #throwbackThursday so a great time for a race recap!  The weather really put a damper on some people’s finish & overall race experience at Cap City this year, but personally I had a great race and wanted to remember it as a positive event.

The expo was held at VUE this year and I dragged little man along with me.  He was excited to tag along… so excited he fell asleep on the way there. 🙂  FullSizeRender(14)The first volunteer I encountered was super helpful and walked us to where we needed to go (we had to make a registration change, as I decided to drop from the half down to the quarter.) We also had VIP passes so we made the treck upstairs to get our additional swag. I’m not a huge expo junkie, so the smaller size didn’t bother me at all, although I have several running friends that missed the traditional large-scale event. We got our goods, took some pics and headed out. Good news… smaller expo = quicker in & out!

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Our dear friends from out of town decided to come down for the race, so we had a fun Friday night of “catching up” and watching all the little ones play (my two and my friend Kate’s two, ranging in ages from 1-8).  We laid out our clothes ~ weather forecast was lower 60s with a strong chance of showers, meaning layers to peel off and a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes ~ set our alarms for 5:40AM, checked the weather for what seemed like the 1 millionth time and left for the Columbus Commons at 6:20AM, ponchos in tow. We met up with some other groups of friends, took some group photos, of course made a pitstop at the porta-pots and finally around 7:40 made our way to our corrals.

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The weather held off and we started promptly at 8AM.  My husband and our friend, Mitch, helped pace me as I was attempting a PR finish of under an 8:52/mile.  We started with the half pace group of 8:47/mile pace and stuck with them until they veered off a little after mile two.  The first few miles were SUPER humid & sticky and shortly after, the storm began to move in.  It rained lightly for the last part of my race and helped give me the extra motivation to finish strong… I wanted to get to that dry VIP tent!

I struggled the last mile.  I was tired, wet & my lungs felt like exploding.  I honestly thought about walking at one point.  The guys kept me going though, pushing me the last stretch with an 8:10/pace and a strong finish.

As I crossed the finish line, I proudly redeemed my medal & finally got a glimpse of my overall time… a new PR!  Although my Garmin said 8:25/mile average, my eventual chip time would be an 8:29/mile, but a much improved time which gave me a big smile. 🙂 We posed for a few photos, waited for a bit at the finish line, then started to head to the Commons as the sky turned black.

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In the VIP tent post-race, we enjoyed drinks and FANTASTIC refreshments catered by Cameron Mitchell including The Pearl Grilled Cheese, Marcella’s Meatball Sliders, Hudson 29 Roasted Chicken Salad, Guild House Honey Cake Bites & Buckeyes.  I’m sure I put back on most of the 784 calories that my trusty Garmin claims I burned.

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After hanging out for a while, the storm really started to move in and the race was eventually black flagged.  It was sad to see all the runners get moved off the course (some of our friends had trained hard and had to stop between miles 10-12), but lightening was all around us & safety was their priority.  Around 10AM, we decided to call it a morning and make a dash for the car.

Back home, our littles greeted us with hugs, stole all our snacks (granola bars, bananas & other goodies we’d collected at the finish line) and put on our medals with giant smiles.

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After the gloomy, chaotic storm-filled morning, the weather in Cbus took a turn for the better and we were able to spend our afternoon and evening wearing tank tops & playing outside.  It was a fabulous weekend with family, friends & the Columbus running community!

 


 

Note:  We know things got crazy during the storm.  A lot of feedback was provided and we are aware that not every runner had as positive of an experience as we did.  I honestly believe that M3S Sports puts on great events, values feedback and is consistently working to improve what they do.  Whether your experience was fantastic or subpar, we hope you’ll take advantage of the 50% off next year’s registration that M3S is extending to all 2017 participants.  They posted this message to their FB page last week…

“YOU “weathered the storm” last weekend and we want to CELEBRATE YOU at the 15th Anniversary of the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon, OhioHealth Quarter Marathon and Commit to Be Fit 5k on April 28th, 2018.  The week of May 15th, we are going to email all of you who participated in 2017 a coupon code to register for 50% off the early registration fee good ONLY on May 30th and May 31st. Registration opens to the general public on June 1st at the regular price.” -Giddyup, David Babner, Race Director M3S Sports.

Watch for their email and we hope to see you at the starting line in 2018!  Better yet, meet up with us at some of the other 2017 events, we’ll be at the FORE! Miler, Emerald City and The Ohio State Four Miler for sure!

Tour of Columbus // Blogger Dinner @ Mitchell’s “The Guild House” with M3S Sports!

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, recently named the Official Restaurant of the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon, hosted a promotional dinner at The Guild House last week.  With a busy schedule and two little ones, I don’t usually attend blogging events, but this one just fit.  My love of running.  My love of delicious, runner-friendly food.  Bonus that it was fancy food. 🙂  I excitedly said YES and anticipated the event for several weeks.

I arrived at The Guild House downtown just after 5:30PM – plan for rush hour traffic and parking, although there is the option to valet.  As the hostess seated our party, the food bloggers were positioning themselves at the end of the table near the window light… as a photographer, why didn’t I think of that?  It worked out, however, as I was fortunate enough to snag a seat right next to the Cap City race director himself, David Babner. We were immediately served delicious fresh “adult” juices and a variety of freshly made appetizers.

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This was my first time at The Guild House and it was a top-notch experience.  The American cuisine is marketed as “farm to table” – utilizing locally grown ingredients whenever possible and supporting local businesses down to the fresh cut flowers on the table.  Each dish was “made with love” and as the chef explained, compliments a runner’s desire to be filled up, but not weighed down. The seasonal offerings they chose for us were all healthy yet amazingly delicious and included hummus, kale, quinoa, roasted brussel sprouts, pork, salmon & scallops.  I wasn’t taking notes as well as the food bloggers, so I may be forgetting a few. 🙂  They were all visually pleasing and super yummy!  My iPhone pics don’t do them justice…

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As I mentioned, I got a spot right next to David Babner.  Mr Babner is the founder of M3S Sports, the race management company that hosts the Cap City Half events, along with several other great races throughout the year.  Throughout many courses of delicious plates, I got to chat with David about the origin of his company, some of his favorite races and the curiosity from my running group…. “With all these Columbus-based events… why the race in Arizona?!”  We also learned more about the partnership between M3S and Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which seems to be a perfect pair.

As far as the partnership goes, both companies (M3S Sports and CMR) recognize their shared vision of offering an excellent experience.  Some race-specific promotions include…

  • Friday, April 28 // book your pre-race dinner and enjoy a special menu that will help you prepare for race day!  Locations include its four Short North restaurants; The Guild House,  The Pearl, Marcella’s Ristorante Pizzeria & Wine Bar and Martini Modern Italian.
  • Saturday, April 29 & Sunday, April 30 // “Show Your Medal” promotion earns you 10% off your food bill and a $1 donation to the OhioHealth Foundation.  Just bring your bling to one of the following; The Guild House, The Pearl, Marcella’s Ristorante Pizzaeria & Wine Bar, Martini Modern Italian, M at Miranova, Cap City Fine Diner & Bar or The Avenue Steak House.

All locations accept reservations & offer a wide variety of meal options, whether you want to carbo-load or go for something lighter.  Most Friday and Saturday nights offer live music as well so don’t forget your dancing shoes!

The other bloggers were food bloggers and I really enjoyed gabbing with them and obsessing over their blogs and Instagram accounts over the last week. 🙂  Meet them…

Alicia of Wander & Whine //  This blog is amazing!  When you have some time to sit down with a yummy beverage, check it out.  Although Alicia does enjoy blogging, her jam is Instagram.  Follow her @alicia.wanders for visual inspiration on local food, drinks & travel!

Erin of The Spiffy Cookie // Erin’s blog focuses mostly on food, but she does enjoy working out so of course, we discussed running and all things sweaty around Columbus!  From her site: “I also love to work out… You will find me regularly at the gym doing cardio, weight lifting, or a group fitness class such as spin, core, pilates, or yoga.” Follow her on IG @thespiffycookie for all her food blogging highlights.

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Overall it was an awesome night and I felt super pampered trying all those scrumptious foods, all the while getting to chat it up with some of Columbus’ best in the food & fitness arenas.  We took one last group photo upon leaving… although a few attendees had already scattered off.

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Pictured left to right:  Samantha (PR firm for Cameron Mitchell), David (M3S Sports), Gretchen (Cameron Mitchell Marketing), Teresa (Living Fit Cbus), Brent (M3S Sports) 

 

Cheers to all those running Cap City, we will see you at the starting line and the after party!  And don’t forget to bring your “bling” to a Mitchell’s restaurant near you to celebrate on Saturday night.  Gotta replace those calories burned, am I right?

 

Thursday night runs are BACK!

Spring 2017 Thursday Kickoff Run

Tonight is our first Thursday run of the season, come join us for 4+ miles of fun!  We will take a group photo, do a 45 minute-ish run on an out & back course and conclude with our last two M3S race giveaways.

  • Runs begin in the TOWN parking lot in historic Dublin, behind Starbucks
  • Aim to arrive around 6:25 if possible, allowing time for parking, etc.  We will start with a meet & greet and try to head out by 6:35.

Running

M3S Race Entry Giveaway

We still have two race entries to award to our runners!

  1. Join us tonight – must be present to win.
  2. Follow Living Fit Columbus on Instagram, Twitter and/or FaceBook.  IG is our jam. 🙂
  3. Must be active on social media [having posted within the last week, preferably something relating to fitness] and be willing to “promote” the race you won an entry to!  Details will be emailed after the giveaway.

Thursday runs typically conclude in mid/late October, usually around daylight savings time and the conclusion of fall training.

Hope to see you tonight!

 

Living Fit Beach Side // Puerto Rico 2017

We took a family trip to Puerto Rico this past spring break and absolutely LOVED it. The sun, the sand, the hispanic culture, the views and activities in Old San Juan… such great adventures and memories!
We typically use Lisa from Creative Vacations for our “bigger” trips including this one, our honeymoon to Riviera Maya, Mexico & our last family trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Using a trusted travel agent can help make sure you’re staying in safe locations, give you lots of travel tips you may not think of, arrange reliable transportation and more! Lisa helped us find the most beautiful resort and as loyal Marriott customers, we booked the San Juan Marriott Resort. My mom spoiled us and upgraded our rooms to ocean view so we spent many mornings drinking coffee from our balcony and it was an added benefit to have during the baby’s nap time.
Per usual as fitness lovers and bloggers, we made sure to incorporate exercise into our week! Not only are long runs and bike rides great ways to see new places, they make for adventurous memories! Whenever I’m traveling over spring break, it seems I’m training for a half marathon… this year we are preparing for the Kentucky Blue Grass half and needed to get in 10 miles, which we did! Below is a quick recap of our weekly adventures, mostly in pictures… aren’t they worth 1,000 words anyhow?

8 mile bike ride to Old San Juan (with yoga stops, of course!)

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Hiking at the rainforest, El Yunque

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#stopdropandyoga with the kids

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10 mile long run to Old San Juan (with water breaks & yoga stops)

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Top five things we loved: 
  • Tons of options for fitness including bike rentals (we got ours directly from the Marriott), running paths, hiking and more
  • The gorgeous blue water and breathtaking coastal views
  • The location of the Marriott and walking distance to shops, restaurants and tons of things to do
  • Old San Juan – history, shopping, views, activities
Things we didn’t love: 
  • The traffic coming home from the Rainforest – there was a World Baseball Classic going on and it took us HOURS to get back to the hotel
  • At the time of this trip, all-inclusive options were not available
My mom lived in Puerto Rico for five years as a kid and is fluent in Spanish so it is always fun to come here (this was my second time visiting). It is an amazing destination and we’ll definitely be back someday!
**Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own 

Race Recap // Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon 2017

It’s been a while since our group has done a destination race!  The Living Fit Cbus run crew started in January 2014 and has done two destination races in smaller groups, including The Mini Indy and The Detroit Half Marathon.  This spring we tackled the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Kentucky, a hilly but gorgeous race known as “America’s Prettiest Half Marathon.”  This was also our largest road-trip group to date, with six of us making the trip down to Lexington.  We hope it is the start to a fun tradition of occasionally getting out of Cbus and seeing the roads and trails across America!

Run the Bluegrass

As we were training, several of us enjoyed reading blogs, reviews, etc about the race, especially since it was known to be a challenging course.  Because of this, we committed to start doing more recaps for our readers to view.  Here are some of our thoughts from running the countryside of Lexington….

Side note:  This was Teresa & Lauren’s first post-baby half! We were in it to “finish.”

Race thoughts by Teresa:

I was very excited to do my first road trip race since 2012 when my mom & I trekked down to Run Raleigh.  As a former assistant coach for LifeTime Fitness Run Club, I used to do a destination race annually, conquering many races in mostly mid-west states.  Run the Bluegrass was my first destination race with the Living Fit Cbus crew due to my constant cycle of being pregnant, having babies and/or nursing over the last five years! Now that my littles are ages four and one, I feel like I finally have time & enough nightly hours of sleep to begin pursing running goals again.  My personal bucket list includes running a half marathon in half the states and although I’ve run through Kentucky during the Flying Pig Half Marathon, this was technically my first “complete” half in the bluegrass state.

We traveled down on Friday night and got to the Expo just in time.  It was a smaller one, but it got the job done.  We ran into some people from one of our favorite local Cbus brands, Bend Active.

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I was weirdly nervous going into this race.  Between not having run a half since 2014, and knowing how hilly & challenging the course was, my nerves during race week were doing cartwheels!  Even though several of us had said “we should just run it for fun” and we weren’t truly worried about pace or finish time, my heart still wanted to finish with a time I could be proud of.  And we did.

Unless you had run the race before or you did the treadmill simulator (like Lauren!), it was somewhat challenging to know how your body can perform over miles & miles of hills.  Here in Columbus, you may find a hill here and there, but let’s be honest…. its known to be a flat, fast terrain.  So I was dreaming about (rather having nightmares about) hills starting about a week prior to race day.

We always aim to have THREE race day goals.  Your “top” goal, like if all goes right and the stars in the universe align. A middle goal. And lastly an “okay, I’d at least be happy if…” goal.  This way when you cross that finish line, no matter what your “time” is, you have something to feel proud of!  Mine were to 1) Stay at a 9:30 pace  2) Stay under 10 minutes  3)  Finish the race, while ‘mostly’ running & attempting to stay under a 10:30 pace.

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Several of us started in wave 2, hoping to finish under 2:15 or a 10:30/mile pace.  Christine, Lauren, Deedra and I stayed together until somewhere around mile three where we forced Christine to surge ahead – she was really holding back to stay with us and we were like “GO girl!”  For the next seven-ish miles, D, L & I embraced the hills, slowed down through the water stops and enjoyed conversation with each other.  The horse farms and countryside were as beautiful as the race website and all the bloggers had stated.  Although I personally would have preferred a bit warmer day and a little more sunshine (it was a cloudy low 40s), it was an enjoyable ten miles.

Once we hit the 10 mile mark, we discussed the “only a 5K left!” mentality and agreed to finish strong, at our own pace.  I popped my headphones in, turned on my power songs (Rise Up & Girl on Fire… repeat!) and went for it.  Deedra and I finished almost together and my chip time was 2:04:58.  Some miles were slower (those hills!) and some were faster (when I was chasing D at the end!) and averaged out to around a 9:33 pace.  Goal #1 met!  And this was almost the exact same finish time as my very first half.  Although I know there is room for improvement, a time I am happy with!

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Things I liked about Run the Bluegrass:

  • Although its often harder to get to a destination race expo on a Friday night, I much prefer a Saturday race.  I like to have Sunday to relax & recover before heading back into a busy workweek.  I’m not really an expo junkie like some, so getting there towards the end didn’t bother me much!  And my quads were on FIRE from all those downhills about 12 hours after the race, so I was happy to have Sunday for added R&R.
  • Wow, the scenery!  Aside from the gorgeous race route, there were many great photo opps including Expo photos with the “horses” (ok, they were fake), the Keenland track itself & the nearby UK Campus.
  • Having the girls there at the start, during the race, and at the finish made this one of my most memorable runs.  It is always more fun to have ‘support’ and of course, friends to take IG worthy pics with. 🙂
  • The website didn’t have a ton of information, but there were pacers, which aren’t always offered at smaller races.  Pace groups can be helpful to runners trying to PR, those who need help maintaining consistent laps or solo runners that want a little group camaraderie.

Some things to consider when running this course:

  • Although the course was absolutely gorgeous, the crowd support was not like some of the larger city road races… so it was nice to have buddies to chat with along the 13.1 mile course.  Unless you love serene, quiet races… bring a friend, your favorite playlist & earbuds, or maybe both!
  • Hills. Man do I dislike hills.  But hey, they make you a stronger runner and help you “lift” those glutes!

Overall it was amazing and after 13 miles of hill training… I now have my sights set on breaking two hours in 2017!

Race thoughts by Lauren:

I always start my reviews on the expo because let’s be serious, the expo is just as much fun as the race. We arrived at the expo on Friday night and the place was packed! As soon as you walked into the Keeneland Entertainment Center you were able to grab your bag and bib which was super convenient BUT you had to go through the entire expo in order to receive your long sleeve hoodie at the end…very smart RTB peeps, very smart. The expo had a number of vendors but I left wanting something more. The space was on the smaller side and between the crowds and tight quarters I wanted to get through there as fast as possible which was a bummer since I normally LOVE the expos.

Friday night we stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by the Keeneland Airport which was about 10 minutes from Keeneland Racecourse. With the complementary breakfast and close proximity to the race, I highly recommend this hotel for future runners.

The race started at 9:00am Saturday morning which was wonderful. I love when races are on Saturdays and a 9am start time is even better. We were able to leave the hotel at 8:15 and make it to the start by 8:30 (I got dropped off and didn’t have to park which would have likely added more time). The temperature was a cool 44 degrees which was PERFECT in my book. We all met up in wave 2 (an approx. 2hr finish time) which was clearly marked and close to the starting line. The Yearling group went out first at 8:55 then Wave 1 was out exactly at 9am and we quickly followed.

Right out of the gate we started up an easy rolling hill and were greeted by a few horses galloping along the fence next to us, it was gorgeous and pretty surreal! There were a couple more rolling hills in the next 3 miles and then around mile 3.5 it started to get challenging. Luckily before the race I had used the treadmill simulator of the course elevation so I knew this big incline was coming. I highly recommend you take a look at the treadmill simulator on the RunTheBluegrass training page, it was helpful to know what was coming so that I could pace myself early on.

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Once we got past the big hill at mile 4 we had a steady decline and we were able to catch our breath and get some momentum back before we had to climb again. The next 5 miles were hill after hill (sorry, there is no sugarcoating this race!) but with every hill came a nice decline or flat and we were able to keep our pace. It certainly helped that the course was absolutely gorgeous. There were horses everywhere and beautiful farmland, it definitely lived up to it’s reputation for the prettiest half marathon in America.

It was around mile 9 that things were starting to hurt. I felt an aching pain in my back and started to cramp (note to self- don’t use fuel chomps on race day if you haven’t been training with them, rookie mistake). I promised myself I wouldn’t start walking until mile 10 and of course right after we passed the mile 10 flag we were greeted with 2 steep hills. I’m not sure if it was because we were chatting throughout the race or if they were easier than I thought but surprisingly the hills seemed pretty manageable up until this point. The final hills between miles 10-12 were tough and steep. I walked off and on before finally getting an adrenaline boost at mile 12.5 and finished strong.


Overall it was an awesome race. If you’re someone like me who relies on a good crowd to keep you motivated while you’re running I would strongly recommend running this with a buddy or group. Since there isn’t much crowd support along the way it was crucial to have my running buddies there for support and distraction from those wicked hills!

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Race thoughts by Christine:

I have fallen in love with running again since having my son 9 months ago and was excited to head to beautiful Lexington for this race with some of the LFC crew. Like T mentioned, the group had some collective pre-race nerves about the hilly course, but I had been preparing for a hilly trail race also taking place in April and had put in the work during my training. I knew I wanted to put in a good effort for my run, but still wasn’t sure that I wanted to “race” this one.  I woke up on Saturday and was feeling good — I was rested, the company was great, and the music at the starting line was pumping me up — so I decided to trust my training and push myself a bit.
I started in wave 2 with the group and surged ahead of the ladies between miles 3 and 4. Once I was solo, I began to focus on charging the hills and finding a comfortably challenging pace. When I reached mile 6.55 I saw that I was halfway through the race in under 1 hour. For the first time I knew I could finish in 2 hours or just under. I kept trucking and spotted the 2:00 pace leader way up the road and decided to keep him in eyesight and try to gain ground and get as close to him as possible before finishing. At about mile 10 I actually caught up to him. He gave me a run down of what to expect for the rest of the course and said I had to keep moving & he would see me at the finish. He was so encouraging, and it was such a welcome dose of motivation to carry me through that last 5K! I cruised on, found another happy runner who pushed me to sprint the final .10 with him, and finished with a PR of 1:56:26!
This was a TOUGH course, but the stars aligned for me on race day! It was a cool experience to run without headphones, through the beautiful KY roads, with nothing but my own determination and the kindness of other runners to get me to the finish. It was a great lesson in training healthy but hard, then trusting your body to do the task you set yourself up to complete.
13.1 & done!  Photos from the finish…

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Overall we loved the race and had a great weekend.  These iphone photos don’t do the course justice.  We all finished and two girls (Christine and Peggy whoop whoop!) even hit a PR on that challenging course.  We went for some re-fueling after and met at Pazzo’s pizza, which we’d highly recommend.  Can’t wait for our next racing road trip!

FIT-spiration // 10 facts about Agnes!

FITspiration

Columbus Fitness Enthusiast – Agnes I.

Agnes, a native Nigerian, is a fitness blogger living and working in Columbus, Ohio. Before moving to Columbus, she lived in Chicago, Illinois for 3 years. In June 2014, she began documenting her training journey for the Chicago Marathon, her first. For that marathon, she was invited to train exclusively with Nike Chicago.

As a former Yoga Sculpt instructor at CorePowerYoga, she enjoys maintaining a healthy body even in a heated yoga studio. Running has always been a part of her life.  In high school, she was on the track and field team and performed as a top sprinter.  In 2014, she ventured into the world of long distance runningAgnes believes that exercising, eating a balanced diet & maintaining a healthy body & mind are keys to a successful life.

Once intimidated about crossing the finish line of a marathon (26.2 miles), she now lives for the moments when others say to her: “Agnes, thank you for inspiring me to start my fitness journey.”  She has run 5ks to marathons in different cities across the United States. Her first international race was in Hefei, China in October 2015 where she was chosen to represent Columbus as a Columbus Athlete Ambassador. Outside of running, she trains with Nike+ training club, is a proud supporter of Charity: Water, and enjoys attending church.  She also actively promotes fitness on her social media outlets ~ give her a follow on Twitter and Instagram @AggieRuns! 

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What is your motivation for LIVING FIT?
“If you don’t take care of yourself, where are you going to live?” I don’t recall who wrote this quote, but I think it rings true for all of us. If we don’t exercise and eat healthy then our bodies will break down. Fitness is important to me because it is a way of life. I enjoy moving my body because it makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of freedom. My earliest memories of running are from when I lived in Ibadan, Nigeria. I remember running through sugar cane fields outside my parent’s flat (house) and having so much fun with my friends and siblings. As I grew up, I became interested in sports in school.

Favorite FIT memory or accomplishment?

  • Running my first marathon in Chicago in October 2014
  • Being one of the 48 people chosen for the Nike Chicago #GetOutHere challenge in December 2015

A few of Agnes’s favorite things…

  • FIT place around Columbus:  Columbus Commons Park
  • Workout routine:  Nike+ Training Club workouts (via the free NTC app)
  • Race distance(s):  5k races
  • Healthy food/meal:  Sweet Potatoes and Salmon
  • Yoga pose:  Warrior II because I feel strong and energized in that pose

What is one thing people may not know about you?

I took piano lessons when I was younger and I would love to start playing the piano again. I love music and I was in the Gospel Choir at The Ohio State University when I was a student.

We meet up for post-run coffee quite a bit!  When going to a coffee shop, what is your go-to order?   I order tea and a sweet pastry or cookie.

How did you find Living Fit Columbus?
I found the @LivingFitColumbus Instagram account, then met up with them for a class at The Butcher Shop.  

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Thanks for your time and sharing a little bit about yourself Agnes!  We look forward to hearing your results in 2017 on your upcoming races, including the Choo Choo 9 Miler, the Berkshire Triathalon and the Seattle Rock Run N Roll Half Marathon.  Hope to see you on the trails!