Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIAW: Smoothies!

I haven't done a WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) in awhile.  I had planned to take all kinds of pictures of our glorious food on vacation... and then I just wasn't feeling it.  Perhaps a bit guilty over the choices I made?  I gained 6 lbs over my Myrtle Beach vacation, but this last week I've managed to shed it all off once again.  Was it worth it?  Heck yeah!  I fueled my body for the race of a lifetime AND I had a wonderful vacation to reconnect with my husband (over beer and ice cream!).  There is nothing wrong with jumping off the bandwagon every now and again... as long as you get back on... quickly.

So this week it has been challenging to find my "food zone" once again. I've fallen to temptation several times, but I'm never afraid to work the calories back off... literally as soon as I consume them!

I start my day with coffee. always. no exception...

This week I've been bad about breakfast and grabbed a breakfast bar or banana on the way out the door to the gym.  For lunch, I've been serving up some pretty tasty smoothies for a protein pump after the gym.  Check out my newest creations...

2 large handfuls of spinach + 1/2 c. almond milk + 1/2 frozen banana + 1 t. honey
 + 1 T. ground flaxseed meal + 2 heaping spoonfuls of light vanilla yogurt 
 + 1 small apple + good handful of ice cubes
Throw it all in the blender. Top with light whipped cream. Makes one serving.
300 calories  |  8g protein  |  26g calcium  |  10g fiber

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3/4 c. almond milk + 3/4 c. orange juice + 1 frozen banana + 1-2 peeled oranges
 + 2 T. ground flaxseed meal + 1 t. vanilla + 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
 + 1/2 t. orange extract + sprinkle of cinnamon + good handful of ice cubes
Throw it all in the blender. Top with light whipped cream. Makes two servings.

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Want more Smoothie Recipes? Check out these from the past...

For dinner, I whipped up these super yummy Mozzarella & Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausages
 (only 120 calories) with some broccoli and red peppers...

 And since we're lovin' veggies this month, I mixed some cucumbers, onions and tomatoes
 with fresh cilantro and a drizzle of ranch for a nice side salad. Delicious and fresh.

Remember that weight loss challenge at my gym?  The final weigh-in is this Saturday. Wish me luck!  My personal goal was to lose 25 lbs during the 55 Day Challenge.  I may be a couple pounds shy, but I'm almost there!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Get Track'n

Big Girl headed off to school on the bus..
I drove Little Girl to pre-school.
And then I went to school too...

I'm not a big fan of track sessions.  In fact, I'd rather run intervals on the treadmill (crazy, huh?).  I'm not sure what prompted me to head to the track today. Perhaps I just needed to be outside. The temps were mild in the mid-30's and the sun tried to peek out every once in awhile.  A little windy, but otherwise perfect running weather.

Today I put the Yasso 800's to work on the track.

Recently I finished reading the book "My Life on the Run" by Bart Yasso. I met Bart Yasso last fall at the Quad Cities Marathon, where he signed my book and inspired me with all his great running stories. His book is a fun easy read, each chapter storytelling from the entertaining adventures of Mr. Yasso, chief running officier of Runner's World.  At the end of the book, you'll find his training plans, as well as the background on the now infamous Yasso 800's. It's an intriguing premise... run 10x800m at a consistently hard pace to predict your marathon finish time.  i.e. If you're able to run each of those 10 intervals in 4 minutes, you can run a 4 hour marathon.

Read more on Yasso 800's here.

The goal of my first marathon was just to cross the finish line (achieved in 4:43).  Now training for #2, I obviously have a time goal... not exactly sure what that is yet, but I'm thinking under 4:25. A month ago, I started incorporating the Yasso 800's into my training. My results from those workouts are helping me narrow in on a 'goal time' for the May 5 Wisconsin Marathon.

Here's how today's track workout went down...
YASSO 6x800'S
2.1 mile warmup in 19:06
800m in 4:08
400m recovery in 2:35
800m in 4:10
400m recovery in 2:39
800m in 4:13
400m recovery in 2:47
800m in 4:14
400m recovery in 2:45
800m in 4:11
400m recovery in 2:49
800m in 4:10
1 mile cooldown in 10:45
TOTAL 7.35 miles in 1:08:33 (9:19 pace)

I'm not up to 10 sets quite yet, but I'm ready to bump up to 8 sets next week.  The important part is that the 800m splits are fairly consistent. I'm happy with a 5 second spread! They weren't all out sprints, but definitely felt hard, especially with the wind on the backside of the track.  No Garmin? No problem... All you need is a cheap stopwatch to track your splits. 

Even if you're not training for a full marathon, the Yasso 800's are a great interval workout.  The 800 is a tricky distance for me... If I all out sprint, I'm dead after one lap. However, the pace should definitely be faster than 5K race pace. I managed an 8:16-8:28 pace during today's intervals so I was right in the ballpark. If you're unsure how fast you should be running intervals, check with these great resources to find your optimal training paces: Run Less Run Faster and McMillan Running Calculator. Just input your recent 5K time and they spit out a nice chart for you.

Have you ever done Yasso 800's before to predict or train for a marathon?
If so, I'm curious how accurate it was?
There are fierce opinions (both ways) all over the web on this!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Long Run & A Recovery

Coming off vacation, this week got a bit mixed up on me.  I had to hunker down and focus on my 'big girl job' for a couple days.  Unfortunately, blogging and running does not pay the bills.  After a week away, I had brides flooding my email looking for my wedding designs.  With two days of solid work on stationery and cakes, I was caught up once again.

Saturday was suppose to be a rest day, but I was yearning to run.  It's been terribly windy in central Illinois this week, but it calmed down on Saturday afternoon.  Thankfully, my friend Patty easily adjusted and we headed out a day early for our long run. It was chilly, but a beautiful sunny afternoon for a run.  Unfortunately, around mile 8, my running partner struggled with a knee issue. She eventually gave in to the painful IT band and called for a ride. With the sun beginning to set, I stepped up the pace for the 8 miles back to my car.  The elevation on the run home was slightly downhill, but I was still happy to maintain a 9:30ish pace in the backhalf of an 18 mile run. Probably too fast for a "long run" but it sure was a nice confidence booster in training for the 26.2 monster.
Total: 18.6 miles in 3:12 (10:19 pace)

By bedtime, I could feel my leg muscles beginning to stiffen.  Both the calves and quads were screaming at me. I iced and worked BioFreeze into the sore spots... and slightly worried about the morning.  My wonderful hubby got up with the kiddos this morning and let me sleep in until 8am!  That's almost 12 hours of sleep - unheard of for me!!

My legs were a good sore, reward for a hard worked run.  This afternoon, I slipped on my running skirt and Sauconys to get them moving once again.  A year ago, I thought 'recovery runs' were the silliest thing I ever heard of.  Now I'm amazed every time at how they assist in my healing.  It's not always easy to convince myself to do a recovery run, but I never regret it.

The key to a recovery run is to go short at a slow easy pace, just enough to get moving... and according to the experts, remove lactic acid buildup in your muscles.  I usually just do what my legs tell me.  Today that was 3 miles at a 10:50 pace.  It put the cap on a great week... I came off an exhilarating half-marthon last weekend, only to run a year-high 37 miles this week!

Do you do recovery runs? Do believe in their recovery power?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five for Friday!!!

1 - Myrtle Beach Afterthoughts
I have such happy memories of my half-marathon last Saturday.  Is it possible a runner's high can last this long?  (Miss the race recap? Check it out here.)  Surprisingly, my legs have made great recovery after a smashing PR run.  I noticed the most soreness in my hips and the sides of my core.  Funny, those spots haven't been issues for me in the past.  My leg muscles felt nothing more than a good interval beating.  I gave my body one day of rest and I've been running every day since Monday. Who-Ya!

There are very few races that I wish to repeat.  I know some runners find comfort in running the same familiar races year after year... but I'm different in that aspect I guess.  I treat marathons as 'vacations' and like to run different events each year for a new experience.  Plus my lifetime goal is to run at least 1 race in each of the 50 states before I die (and a couple international would be cool too!).  My hubby and I both like to travel, so I'm hoping this will also keep us active as we creep up on our 50's.  With all that being said... I would repeat the Myrtle Beach Marathon.  I hope that stresses just how highly I recommend the event.  Race organization was top-notch, great course with minimal crowding, and fun after-parties (one immediately after the race and another later that evening!).  Spectator support was perfect without fans crowding into the race lanes.  And important for us techies, there was good pre-race communication through email and FB updates.

2 - Vacation Weight
After my weigh-in last week, I relaxed a bit on my diet.  First was the slight carbo-load that was necessary to fuel my PR run.  I didn't go overboard, but I certainly ate more grain carbs than my diet has been used to lately.  Secondly, I was vacation and had some celebrating to do!  Add alcohol, appetizers and desserts... I came back from vacation +6 lbs.  Ugh.  After my Ash Wednesday fast of water and tea, I dropped 2 of those extra pounds.  This week will be a battle to get back to even.

3 - Next Up
I'm totally running this one
for the cool medal!
As soon as I crossed the finish line on Saturday, I immediately starting thinking, "So now what am I capable of in the full marathon?"  My spring race schedule has a variety of races, but my next 'A' race is the Wisconsin Marathon on May 5 in Kenosha, WI.  I'm excited to start building my endurance again... I'm actually looking forward to 18 this weekend!  I have several friends who are also doing spring marathons so I actually have training partners this time around.

4 - Predictions
With a 1:58 half on the books, I'm now curious what the "experts" say I can do with 26.2.  I went to all my usual sources and here's what they told me I could expect to achieve...
MarathonGuide... 4:07
McMillan Running... 4:09
Run Less Run Faster... 4:08
Hmmm, looks like a sub-4:10, huh?  I was kinda kicking around a 4:20-4:30 goal for the marathon.  Perhaps I need to adjust that and push myself a bit more?  Today I'm back to weekly Yasso 800's, another good race prediction exercise.  More on the Yasso's next week...

5 - Dirty Girl Winner!!
With nearly 300 entries in the Dirty Girl race entry sweepstakes, you've all proven that there's a dirty side in all of us!  I'm still undecided on whether I'm going to do the Indianapolis (May 12) or Wisconsin (Aug. 19).  Any of you signed up for either of these?  I'd love to run with you!

The Dirty Girl winner is....
Amy Mcteague-Danielski
Please email me at to claim your free race entry!

Didn't win? You can still sign up at!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Race Recap: Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

There are few races when it all comes together... but the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon was just that!!  I'm having a hard time finding the right words to describe how fantastic this race was for me...

It was perfect.

Happy with a New PR!

My husband and I arrived in Myrtle Beach two days prior to the race. I took him on a quick tour of the town past my old apartment, hangouts, etc.  So much has changed in Myrtle Beach since I lived there 12 years ago!  After checking into our oceanside hotel, we hit the race expo.  Pretty much the norm for an expo, so we were in and out pretty quickly.

The race garb was okay... I loved the yellow bag and the sweat towel.  Custom arm warmers were also a nice touch (never got those in a race bag before).  As a graphic designer myself, I'm always fond of events that put together a nice race magazine.  This one had maps and detailed information on everything you needed to know about the race, in addition to local stories. Nicely done, especially for us visitors.  Now the race shirts were a bit of a disappointment.  Half marathoners got orange, as pictured above - not terrible, but the women's sizing was like children's... tiny.  There was no flexibility to swap for a size larger.  Perhaps the worst call was making the 26.2 shirts fuschia.  While I loved the pink color, I can't imagine any man wearing it. In the short time that I stood at the shirt table, the complaints were very vocal.  I felt bad for the volunteers that had to work the shirt table.

After the expo, we scurried off to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville to review our race bags, study the maps and determine a plan for the race events. Tequila is 'muy bueno' for pre-race jitters.

The next morning after a 3-mile shakeout run, we drove the race course.  This baby was pancake flat, great straightaways with very few corners.  I knew this was "the one" if a sub-2 was going to happen this spring. Knowing this made me even more nervous...

Friday evening was the 5K and family fun runs.  I ran around like crazy (in the dark) trying to spot my hubby as he ran the 5K.  (I caught him at three different spots in the race - pretty impressive for the 3.1 distance I think)  I thoroughly enjoyed cheering in the runners, once again pumping me up for the race that awaited me in the morning.  After the race, we finally devoured a pasta dinner at 8:30pm.

Surprisingly, I slept like a baby that night and sprung out of bed at 5:00am.  Morning temps were in the mid-40's.  And once the sun rose, a beautiful sunny day was on the horizon.  Perfecto!  My hubby dropped me off a 1/2 mile from the starting area.  I got in a nice jog warmup, moved quickly through the porta-potty line and lined up with the 2:00 hr pace group in the starting chute.

It took exactly 1:38 seconds to cross the start line, and once we did, our pace leader took off.  Her name was Nicole and I liked her instantly. One of my pet peeves about pace groups is that they always seem to start off behind the pace.  Nicole carried a balloon and weaved her way through the crowded street with a line of us on her tail.  By mile 1.5, it thinned out enough that we relaxed into a pace and chatted away.

Mile 1 - 8:53
Mile 2 - 9:09

I buddied up quickly with a guy named Blake who was also running in the pace group.  In fact, my husband first found me at mile 2 because he could hear me talking. Chatting away and mindlessly following the pace leader kept me from sprinting out too fast.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the pace felt as we ticked away the early miles.  I was aching to speed up, but made an internal promise to hold the pace until mile 6. Somewhere in the first couple miles, my right contact flipped in my eye.  I struggled to fix it, then attempt to remove it with no success. Instead of stopping to fix the problem, I plunged forward the entire race with the right side a big blur. I was determined not to allow any excuses interfere with this race... and my sub-2.

Mile 3 - 9:09
Mile 4 - 9:10
Mile 5 - 8:58
Mile 6 - 9:09

At mile 6, we entered into the Market Common area, a cool area of little shops and condos.  There was great crowd support in the next couple miles as I slowly pulled ahead of the pace group.  Before I knew it, I passed the halfway clock and were heading down Ocean Boulevard.  I couldn't believe how fast this race was going by... and how great I was feeling!  I felt pretty confident by mile 8... and slightly giddy.  I knew the work was yet to come, but I was beyond happy that it wasn't feeling hard yet.

Mile 7 - 9:01
Mile 8 - 8:58
Mile 9 - 8:58
Mile 10 - 9:00
That's some pretty consistent self-pacing if I do say so myself!
Who needs a Garmin? Not me!

Shortly after mile 10, I saw hubby up ahead and put on my best "I Got This" smile.  I couldn't get over what a perfect race I was having at that moment.

But soon the miles and pace caught up with me.  Mile 11 started to hurt and I started to work the race mentally.  "A PR is gonna hurt... and I AM going to PR today. Do Not Quit. You've got More.  You're trained for this.  You've got this; Don't let it slip away."  We made the turn off Ocean Blvd and back towards the start/finish area.  It was the only part of the course that was "slightly uphill".  Normally I wouldn't even notice this slight change, but now I was feeling every footstep that was at an incline. I felt like I was slowing down, so I was delighted when my mile 12 split flashed a 8:58.  I so freakin' got this...

Mile 11 - 9:00
Mile 12 - 8:58
Mile 13 - 8:58
Final 0.1 - :94

The finish chute was an awesome setup... a long 1/4 mile stretch that was completely barricaded off so no one could cross - and it kept the 13.1 and 26.2 runners separate (genius!).  It was lined with spectators cheering and banging on the plastic barricades.  As I turned the final corner, the runner next to me took off in a sprint... and I matched.  I used up every ounce of energy to carry myself in.  I saw the 1:59xx on the clock and was completely overcome with joy.  

I had become slightly obsessed with achieving the sub-2 half marathon. Both physically and mentally, I trained hard for this goal... and FINALLY it was mine!  I bent over in exhaustion and the tears flowed. I knew in that moment that anything was possible with persistence and hard work.  As I exited the finishing chute (slightly delusional, exhausted and still only seeing out of one eye), the disappointments of Chicago and Indy flashed before me.  Today made it all worthwhile.

Chip Time:  1:58:16
PR by 5:42 over the Illinois Half-Marathon April 2011

#1154 out of 3570 runners (top 32.3%)
The winner of the half marathon set a course record in 1:07:57.

#404 out of 2033 women (top 19.8%)
The female winner (15 years old!) also set a course record in 1:16:43.

#88 out of 372 in sex/age division (top 23.6%)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Final Race Prep for Myrtle Beach

The time has finally arrived.  In less than 16 hours, I will be on a plane with my honey to Myrtle Beach for 6 days of adult fun.  Oh, and a little thing called the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon!  This morning, I had a great 3 mile run and a hard 40 minute swim.  Besides one more shake-out run at the beach, I'm now on active REST to save it up for the starting line.
Thanks for all of your input via Facebook on the race outfit.  I think I've decided to go with PR Purple!  Of course with me, it's always a game-time decision.  I have so many different accessories to add on to the outfit pending weather... arm warmers, leggings, headband, hat, etc.  My toughest call now... do I go with the compression socks or no?  I'll just pack it all!

I've been weather-stalking like an eager runner girl.  The forecast has nearly driven me batty, changing drastically every day. One thing is certain... I probably won't know the true weather until that morning.  Race begins early at 6:30 am, so it will still be dark and cool temperatures to start the race.  Of course, Myrtle Beach "cool temps" are like spring weather for those of us in the Midwest.  Rain is expected on Saturday, but hopefully I will be done before it rolls in.  Lastly, if the wind goddesses could keep it under 10 mph, I'd be eternally grateful.  After running parts of the route on my iFit treadmill, there doesn't appear to be much tree cover should it be windy.

It's no secret that I've been trying to nail a sub-2 half marathon for the past year... 1:59:59 would make me through-the-roof ecstatic. That's a 9:09 pace for 13.1 miles... no small feat.  My training has been really good the past 6 weeks, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready for the sub-2 yet.  I feel like I need about 4 more weeks.  Unfortunately, this is a course that can deliver (flat and fast), so I plan on giving it all I got.  I used to live in Myrtle Beach (for a brief year).  I tend to race well in cities that I previously called home... something about it gives me that little extra push.  

I won't lie... I will be disappointed if I don't PR, but it won't be easy.  My current PR is 2:03:58 from the Illinois Half-Marathon (race recap) last spring (9:27 pace).  I remember it being a tough run, where I challenged myself every single mile.  My latest mantra has been "A PR is gonna hurt."  It pushed me through some tough training runs and has prepped me mentally for a tough race.  The Myrtle Beach Half Marathon will NOT be a pleasant vacation run... it will be hard fought and pure work.  Hopefully the finish line will prove victorious!  

I will update my race result on Facebook Saturday morning.
Other than that, I'm over and out for a vacation... until next Wednesday!!
Have a great week peeps and THANK YOU for all your support & encouragement!

* * *

While I'm gone on vacation, don't forget to enter to win {here} 
a FREE RACE ENTRY for the Dirty Girl mud run (location of your choice!)
Already entered? Remember you can tweet about it once a day for extra entries!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Randomness ~Winner~

My husband and I have mutually agreed on no Valentine gifts since we have a 6-day vacation to Myrtle Beach (with no children!) awaiting us in just two days!  We'll have plenty of free time to celebrate our love then.  It's actually a special weekend for us (besides my looming half marathon).  February 18 is the anniversary of our "second" wedding.  We had officially tied the knot at the courthouse 18 months earlier before his year-long deployment, and then on Feb. 18, we had a traditional Catholic wedding and reception with our family and friends.

I just realized that my Half Marathon this weekend starts at 6:30 am. Early start! My kids have spoiled me over the winter... I'm rarely even awake at that time!  So this week, I've decided to get my body back accustomed to morning running.  I was up at 6am this morning for a short easy run. It was hard to get rolling but felt great at the end.  During race weeks, I'm pretty intense on envisioning the finish line in my runs. It's so hard to respect the taper, but active rest is the best thing I can do for race prep this week.

Yesterday's weigh-in got me over the -20 lb mark, so I had earned my next reward (new pair of jeans).  However, I opted instead for a new pair of Under Armour running capris.  My old pair were getting too big... and extra material is no good for thigh chaffing.  To top off the reward, I got myself a little Valentine's present... some fun knee high socks!

Running shoe boxes make great Valentine's Day boxes for the kids...

• • •

The Deluxe CLICK Starter Pack Winner is...
She won by pinning the CLICK picture/post to Pinterest.
Tammy, please e-mail me your mailing address.

I hope you all have a great Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Ragnar Team Meet-Up!

Ever since I saw the movie Hood to Coast, an overnight relay race was on my bucket list.  So when I found out about Madison-to-Chicago Ragnar Race, I immediately started searching for teammates.  Initially, I was on a 12-member team, but the challenge of an Ultra team was calling me.  I wanted Ragnar to not only be a fun experience, but a challenge... an 'A' race if you will.

Finding five other women as crazy and adventurous as me was a challenge in itself.  But over the last couple months, the team has come together through a chain reaction, three of us from the Peoria area and the other half from the Chicago area.  A three hour drive separates us, but yesterday, we met each other (for the first time!) for a team meeting.   Team (You Just Got) Chicked is up and ready for action.   Meet my teammates here.

What better way to get to know your new teammates than go for a RUN?!  After a little research on TrailLink, we settled on the Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail.  The trailhead at Lock 14 in LaSalle was our meeting spot.

It was a beautiful sunny day, but true February temperatures in the low teens with the typical Midwest winter wind.  Bundling up for the cold was not first option... we first had to take some promotional photos for our sponsor Aspaeris Pivot Shorts  in our new compression shorts. It started our first team meeting off with lots of laughs, as we struggled to change in our cars and then stand out in the cold with bare legs.  Brrrrrr!
(You Just Got) Chicked - Sexy Legs, huh?

We ran a 10 mile out and back on the trail.  Most of the run had beautiful views of water. I will definitely be returning here for a spring/summer/fall run.  It was breathtaking even in the cold.

After our run, we photo-opped some more...

From left to right:  Amanda, Kate, Lara (up in tree), Julie, Tara and me

And then we went for lunch!  We had a lot of logistical details to workout for our Ragnar race... vans, outfits, sponsors, runner routes, travel, volunteers and training.  Surprisingly for a group of women, we seemed to agree on everything and came to decisions fairly easy.  I'm so happy with this group. We've really got a great team of "ultra" women!  Ragnar is going to be a truly special running experience.

(You Just Got) Chicked
Ragnar Ultra June 8-9, 2012

Have you ever run on a long-distance RELAY TEAM?
Have any great advice for us?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Run for Sherry

Last night brought the coldest temps of the winter so far, dipping into the single digits. I was warm and snuggled in with a heated mattress pad and a big down comforter.  I could have stayed there all morning long... but I reluctantly rolled myself out of bed at 7:15am.  

This morning, we run for Sherry.

I had invited area runners to meet at the Sonnemaker Statue to run the hilly Springdale Cemetery.  Over 40 people responded yes or maybe.  Unfortunately with the cold temps this morning, it was a smaller showing... but many more pledged to run/walk/workout indoors today to honor Sherry. Without this event, I probably would have reverted to the treadmill also... single digits are kinda my cutoff point for the great outdoors.

We quickly snapped some pictures and then started off our run.

 I'm a pretty good one-arm photographer, but 9 people was just too many for my short arms! 

We ran the first mile in silence to honor the memory of Sherry. During this time, I prayed for Sherry and her family.  I thought she must be smiling from above at all these people running around the globe this morning.  My thoughts drifted to how she was kidnapped and ultimately killed, details we may never know.  It must be horribly difficult for her family to continue guessing and imagining.  I pray that today may start their healing.  I found myself extremely grateful for the women running by my side, my Sole Sisters.  Running is no doubt safer in groups, but also more fun.  I'm so appreciative of all the new friends I've made this year through running. May we run many more happy years together...

R.I.P. Sherry Arnold

• • •

Don't forget to enter my current giveaways to win a 
CLICK Pack {here} or the Dirty Girl race entry {here}.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are you a DIRTY GIRL? ~Giveaway~

It's about time I get down and dirty. 
So this summer, I'm taking the plunge... into the MUD!

Dirty Girl is a female-only 5k obstacle and mud run for women of all ages and athletic abilities.  What I like about Dirty Girl is that the event is focused on female-camaraderie (hugs and laughter!), rather than pure grit.  Whether you're a runner, fitness guru or a beginner, anyone can do this fun run!  It's a healthy day of discovery and laughter with your friends... in the mud.

Participants can register either as individuals or as part of a team.  Undoubtedly, the fun begins with a team. At each race, there are awards for Biggest Team, Most Creative Team Name, Best Themed Costumes and a few more with fun prizes. I laughed so hard reading some of the names from past years...
Muddy Melons   •   The Mudd Butts
G.I. Sloppy Janes   •   The Muddonnas
Dirty Pigs (group of female cops)
Team Victorious Secret (dressed in lingerie)
Does This Mud Make My Ass Look Fast?

The Dirty Girl course is 3.1 miles with 11 obstacles along the way.  In true girl-style, each obstacle has a fun feminine name... The mud pit is called P.M.S. (Pretty Muddy Stuff), and the tunnel crawl is called Utopian Tubes.  I'm a sucker for that kind of creativity!  The obstacles have varying degrees of difficulty to accommodate all participants. Everyone crosses the finish line laughing with a feeling of accomplishment. See all obstacles of course here.

Do the Dirty Girl with your girls and for your girls. A portion of all proceeds from registration fees is donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  In 2011, Dirty Girls helped raise over $50,000 to help win the race against breast cancer.  In 2012, race coordinators will also give special recognition and complimentary registration to 250 cancer survivors in each of the 12 planned cities on the Dirty Girl tour.

The Dirty Girl Mud Run series debuted in 2011 to a sold-out field of over 6,000 women in Wisconsin.  (Yup, I'm a Wisconsin girl and can attest... we are dirty girls!)  The inaugural year also featured successful events in Colorado and New York.  In 2012, the Dirty Girl has expanded across the United States...

The entire day of Dirty Girl is a festival-like atmosphere.  The start area features music to rock the crowd, pump up the Dirty Girls and set the stage for runner waves departing every 15 minutes. The course is staffed by off-duty firefighters and concludes with a sloshing crawl through a 40-foot mud pit, energizing Dirty Girls with the laughter, encouragement and cheering of teammates, supporters, friends and families.

After completing the course, Dirty Girls can clean up, change clothes, and then do what women do best... eat, drink, dance and shop!  That's right... delicious food at the end with a complimentary cosmopolitan!

So get your girls together and sign up today! Events do fill quickly. The Wisconsin race already sold out for August 18.  Thankfully, race coordinators added a second day to accommodate those Wisconsin Dirty Girls.

Check out the Dirty Girl website {here} for more event details and registration.
Don't forget to show 'em your dirty love on Facebook {here} and Twitter {here}.

I'm excited to offer one lucky reader a FREE REGISTRATION
for the race location of their choice (based on availability)
I'll be running this sweepstakes via Rafflecopter, ending at midnight on Feb. 23.
Winner will be announced on Friday, Feb. 24. Good Luck!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Show me LOVE

Valentine's Day is less than a week away.  Don't get me wrong, I love flowers. White and pink daisies are my personal favorite.  And oh-boy, I can devour a good box of chocolate... especially if there's a little peanut butter in the center.

Nothing says LOVE like PINK running gear!  
Here's some of my favorites that are perfect for Valentine's Day. Give yourself a little love - or send your man over for some ideas!

Always the place for fashion and function, BondiBand headbands
are my favorite sweat gear.  Available in hundreds of patterns, colors and sayings,
these are an affordable gift when the wallet is slim.
$8 each -or- Buy 3, Get 1 Free with coupon code ONE.
{buy here}

Most runners love a good watch - and pink always makes it cooler in my opinion.
No matter what your budget, there's a watch right for you.  (Note: I love my cheap Casio!)
Left to Right
Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS Watch $185 {buy here}
Soleus Chicked Watch $55 {buy here}
Casio Runner Digital Watch $24 {buy here}

What a fun surprise to find one of these socks wrapped up inside your running shoe?!?!

Left to Right
Hearts Print Knee High Socks $11 {buy here}
Stripped Red/Pink Knee High Socks $7 {buy here}
Pink Cheetah Animal Print Knee High Socks $8 {buy here}
Key to My Heart Knee High Socks $10 {buy here}
Run Love Compression Socks in Haute Pink $32 {buy here}

The best way to feel feminine on the run is to sport a cute running skirt!
This one from SparkleSkirts has Valentine's Day written all over it!
Neon Luv SparkleTech Skirt $64 {buy here}

Every girl needs a pair of PINK shoes in her run wardrobe,
and these stability shoes will treat your sweet feet.
Saucony ProGride Guide 5  $100  {buy here}

• • •

What do you and your significant other normally do for Valentine's Day?
Do you go all out? or just a special card sealed with a kiss?