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Race To Kinvara - an Ireland Relay

When life hands you a four leaf clover, hold on to that bad boy for dear life!! Especially if it happens to be on some of your favorite running gear {aka the Saucony Kinvara}.
Saucony Kinvara Special EditionI certainly felt like a little luck of the Irish had come my way, when I was given the opportunity to join Saucony for a special event they created called the Race to Kinvara.

What is this race?? How do you people get selected? 

Running specialty stores aren’t just a place for us to geek out with other runners, they are really the lifeblood of the running industry. Ensuring that we all get the gear that will help us perform well and enjoy running.

Saucony wanted to reward the amazing people who show up every day in those stores to service our gnarly, sweaty, runner’s feet…so they thought BIG…really BIG. For the second year, associates were able to enter a raffle based on number of shoes sold. While of course Saucony loves their shoes they were also very adamant it's about getting people in the right shoe which may not always be one of theirs. As you might notice this is not normally a blogger event, Jess and I were extremely honored and blessed to have been selected {randomly} from the 26Strong coaches.

I love that they stitched their motto in to our hoodies: Empowering the human spirit through running.Saucony Race HoodieStage Relay overview
Have you ever done a Ragnar or relay race? Been holed up in a stinky van with 6 people for 32 hours?

Now imagine flying first class...yup it was that different. Each of the 10 teams had a driver and a large Mercedes bus and to make you feel really special, a moto driver riding nearby to protect you from cars.

Below one of the team buses…of course we decorated them!! And a snapshot that my moto driver took while tailing me along the water.Relay team busesRunning in IrelandUnlike a Ragnar which is run straight through the night, a stage race is done over multiple days. This allows you to finish in the afternoon, shower, enjoy a little of the city, dine with your team and sleep in a bed!

Teams were comprised of associates from the US, Canada, Germany, France, UK and Ireland. We were proud to be the first US team finishing just 9 minutes behind the UK/Ireland team and we won’t get in to how far behind the French and Germans who were seriously there to win. TeamRedRiderThat being said it was really more about fun that winning…but 80 runners together is going to breed some competitive thinking, right?!

DAY 1
We left Dublin and kicked off the race next to the beautiful Blessington Lake. Setting the scene already that we would be enjoying the countryside and small towns for the next two days of running. Blessington Lake IrelandI was really hoping to run a lot of miles like I did with the Palmetto 200 because that's how I wanted to see the country. Fortunately for me fate intervened and we drew names for most legs so I ended up with just 5.6 miles on day 1…saving my increasingly swollen knee from more injury.

I had no sharp or intense pain with my knee, just an ache and swelling so I made the decision that running was absolutely worth it and stand by that choice now too!! One of our first hand-offs came in a little town called Hollywood…where some local sheep farmers had put up a sign in the hills!!

DSC05082Hollywood IrelandDSC05131My leg was the first time we moved off road and I found myself along the River Barrow in solitude, until I'd pass a local fishing or swimming...and then if course the fleeting moments were a girl running 6 min miles zipped past me.
Running the River BarrowRunning the River Barrow in IrelandWe finished day 1 at a pub in Kilkenny where most teams recovered with some local brew and a well earned massage!
DSC05185DSC05187DAY 2
Rising early for another breakfast of smoked salmon and Belgian waffles, we headed out for a 2 hour drive to the start line of day two…it was through some beautiful countryside and lead to one of the most amazing start lines I’ve seen in 12 years of running.
DSC05369Epic - that word gets thrown around a lot these days, but seriously one look at the start line and I think you'd agree. 10 guys took off single file on a small path three feet from the Cliffs of Moher on the Burren Way walking trail, which happened to also be crowded near the start with other tourists.
DSC05374DSC05376
From there we continued running through tiny towns, past cows and sheep, around Galway Bay and with views that were never endingly green and locals who were definitely curious about this sweaty caravan. DSC05409DSC05424DSC05456DSC05447Finally we reached Kinvara, where each team ran as a unit across the finish line and then promptly began to celebrate with another massage, drinks and food, while cheering on others!IMG_7054IMG_7061IMG_7062After that was a night of fun with an awards dinner, Celtic dancers and just enjoying the new friends that we had made over the last three days. Certainly not an adventure that I will forget anytime soon and one that I still feel a bit in awe of having been blessed with the opportunity to do.

Have you ever done a Stage Relay?

What’s the coolest place you’ve run?

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21 Day Rejuvenation Challenge {Clean eating, core work and soul}

In just 21 days I’ll be turning 33…and you know what every year I have been excited about my birthday. Wanting this year to be no different, I thought I’d spend the next 21 days doing a Rejuvenation Challenge!21 Day Clean Eating ChallengeChallenges are more fun {and easier to stick to} with friends, which is why I’m inviting you to join me. I love the accountability! The goal of this particular 21-day challenge is not just food, but overall feeling more centered and happier because it seems everyone is a bit rushed these days with mind and body:

  • Feel more energetic {balanced energy throughout day}
  • Reduce cravings {no more must have sugar feelings}
  • Improve body composition {no lie, I’d like to see this core look stronger}
  • Reduce inflammation {it’s not making running any easier!}
  • Better mood
  • Better sleep
  • Better workouts {increased recovery, more energy}
  • Improved concentration and clarity
  • Overall health improvements

21 DAY CHALLENGE BASICS
This challenge is nothing crazy, no meal plans or workouts to follow. Literally just committing to getting back to the basics with our food and recognizing how it makes us feel.21 Days to Flatter Abs

How you decide to do the the challenge is up to you, but here are the basic guidelines:

  • Tons of water throughout the day {start day with lemon water before first meal}
  • Avoiding processed foods, alcohol, sweets
  • Focusing on vegetables, fruits, high quality protein sources, healthy fats, nuts
  • Dairy and grains are optional {they are the most common food sensitivities, so cutting them out to test could be beneficial} If included opt for unprocessed such as plain Greek yogurt, brown rice, quinoa, oats
  • Mindful eating {yup not in front of the TV}
  • 4 minutes each day meditating or reading something uplifting
  • 4 core workouts per week

STEP 1 - Write down exactly how you are feeling today! Skin, hair, digestion, energy, weight or measurements
STEP 2 - Write down your why. Why are you doing this challenge? How do you want to feel?
STEP 3 - Get mentally prepared and create a shopping list or meal plan {ideas in CL emails}
STEP 4 - Commit and get ready to feel amazing.

We start tomorrow! That’s right, no more putting things off till Monday, let’s just do it!21-Day-Challenge-Tracker-SmHOW TO JOIN
Free Get Started ASAP:
Commit below to joining the challenge by commenting {over 50 of us going strong!}!
-- Download calendar for tracking. Each day cross of which goals you completed.
-- Use #bestfoot on social media to share your progress with others
{I’ll be following, retweeting, and answering questions}
-- Each week check in with progress on the Rejuvenation Challenge post
Start ASAP whatever day of the week that may be!

Get seriously committed by signing up to receive the Clean and Lean Project emails for a birthday discount of just $13 (normally $27). These emails will give you daily tips and motivation for sticking to a clean eating diet without feeling overwhelmed.
-- Those who have signed up previously will be offered a chance to receive them all again for free.
-- Inside the CL group on Facebook we will have a daily check in thread.

RESOURCES
Follow the Clean Eating Recipes board on Pinterest to get ideas
7 day sugar detox series for managing withdraw, defining your why and emotional cravings.
Review the Ab Challenge exercise demo and ab calendar for ideas
Tips for beginning meditation

Look for a round up of recipes next week in a Rejuvenation Challenge update!

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It’s never JUST a half marathon {and injury update}

A triathlon…no a marathon PR…no my first ultra…wait no maybe…I …errrrr

What am I planning to do this fall? What is my goal? I get asked weekly, so I feel like it’s time to decide!

After battling with my ego for months over the timing of a new marathon PR attempt, I knew in my heart I had no desire to race a fall marathon. I am excited to pace Jodi for the Honolulu marathon in December, but prior to that I just don’t want to do summer long runs in Florida and I’m having a lot of fun enjoying my travels without the extra pressure.

Of course I couldn’t just realize that and then take the appropriate action, right?!Running shoes are happinessWHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T LISTEN
It’s been years since I’ve really had a spell of lost mojo. Probably because of those years where running was just hard as my body went through so much {what’s up menopause}. It gave me a new appreciation for even bad runs because it meant I could!

While in France, I enjoyed the cool mornings running without music or even a GPS most days.

I was excited to explore.

Happy not to be drenched in sweat.

Satisfied with each run just for the run itself.

Cut to my return to Florida…AM 98% humidity and daily feels like now reaching 100. I don’t want to even go outside much less go for a run in the muck. I hopped on my favorite treadmill, but still couldn’t muster up my normal love for the machine or even engross myself in The Real Housewives to pass some time.

INJURY?!
Then my body went haywire in a way it hasn’t in years… my hips were out of alignment to the point I couldn’t run without sharp pain {always a signal to stop!}. A few trips the chiro and things were better, but running with misalignment tweaked my form for weeks and thus made my quads and knee sore.

WHAT THE HELL?!? This felt entirely unfair as I’m the queen of doing my hip exercises and hip stretches!Knee with ice pack   Swollen knee
As many of you saw from my Ireland Instagram pictures…the knee is now swollen like a basketball and I’m going to have to find a sports doctor to get things back on track.

… the universe speaks to us in whispers.
If we ignore the whispers, we get pebbles of warnings.
If we still don't pay attention, we get bricks of problems,
and if we're really hardheaded, eventually the entire brick wall comes crashing down. -- Oprah

HAPPY GOALS
It took awhile, but I’m ready to listen.

I enjoyed my half marathon training last winter and I’m really excited to drop my time…so there you have it, I’m going to focus on a half marathon PR and probably a 10K this Fall.

And here’s the thing… I’m not running JUST the half marathon.

I’m running a half marathon.

I don’t know when we started qualifying it with the word “JUST”, but I’m going to to my best to stop because honestly it’s my favorite distance and it’s way too fabulous to play second fiddle to the marathon.

Distance isn’t what makes us runners…{Tweet it! We all need a reminder}.Runner shirtI think it’s the shirts, shoes and spandex. SmileNo really, what makes us runners is our desire to:

  • always be improving
  • testing our limits
  • pushing when others would stop
  • learning about ourselves
  • feeling strong even in life’s tough moments
  • earn an extra cookie

Not sure what else I’ll be doing, but definitely St. Pete’s Women’s Half Marathon on Nov 23rd.

Let’s chat so I feel less crazy about all this…
Have you ever felt pressure to run races you weren’t committed to?

Is the Universe whispering anything to you that you’ve been ignoring?

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Jabra Sport Wireless+ Review {and giveaway}

What do you do with the wires from your headphones?

I’ve resorted to looping them through my sports bra, that weird holding them in my hand thing and more frequently wrapping them around an arm band. All of which seem less than ideal…my iPod is now the size of a cracker, why on Earth are my headphones exactly like they were when I started running?!

Jabra believes we should have the right to run free…wirelessly anyhow, which is why they created wireless headphones for athletes {aka sweaty proof}.
Jabra Sport WirelessJABRA SPORT WIRLESS+
I can’t lie {well, that’s not true, I can, but I won’t}…my initial reaction was frustration.

The headphones come with very little documentation, which is partially because they are so easy to use…but I’m a details kind of person. I needed to know things like how do I know if it’s fully charged? Why won’t they sit against my head? Why did this ear bud cover just break when I tried to put it on?

Answers: Plug it in to your computer with the USB cable and watch for flashing light, when no longer flashing they are fully charged. | You have in the wrong earbuds for your ears. | You didn’t take off the earbud cover and were a bit too aggressive.

Getting earbuds to fit me has always been a problem and my first attempt with these was like the first time I put on padded bike shorts…ugh.

Then I paused, took a moment to watch their video and found a pair of ear covers that fit me.  My only issue now is they are so snug that each time I take them out the buds are left behind in my ear, which is mostly just annoying.

Once you’ve found the right buds this is how they sit along the hear and head.Jabra Sport WirelessDavid’s first question was are they heavy? And I’m happy to report that they are not.  \They fit more snuggly against the head than previous wireless headsets and getting them to connect with my iPhone took just seconds.

  • Bluetooth enabled for music streaming
  • FM radio {no need to bring your iPhone if you don’t want}
  • Play time around 4 hours
  • Easy and minimal controls
  • No issues with tangled cords
  • 7 earbuds to find the right fit

Jabra Sport athlete Craig Alexander makes these look way better than I do…so yeah…just look at this.Craig Alexander Jabra Sport Wireless

Pros

  • It goes without saying…but no cords
  • Drops won’t break it
  • Can handle rain, sweaty {not swimming}
  • Instant set up
  • Light weight making them comfortable
  • Stays put
  • Easy to use controls
  • Control music from the headset {no looking at your phone}
  • Use it for calls

Cons

  • Lowest volume setting is louder than I’d like for early runs
  • Getting the ear bud fit right took a lot of trials
  • Lack of initial documents in the packaging
  • Microphone is behind ear so probably not the best sound for calls ever, but you should be running not chatting Smile 

Currently the Jabra Sport Wirelss Plus is $70 on Amazon.

LET’S CHAT
I’m teaming up with Jabra to host a Google Hangout on July 23rd at 3PM EST and I’d love to answer some of your burning questions about running! I hope you’ll join me, but if you can’t make it…well checkout this giveaway!!
JabraGIVEAWAY
Looking for a little more freedom in your running? Enter to win a Jabra Sport Wireless+ headset for yourself in the Rafflecopter below.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jabra who provided the headphones for review. All opinions, sweat stains and thoughts are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why I won’t be on the cover of Runner’s World

Are you on social media? Then you’ve seen the contest…the tweets, the posts and the pleas for votes because HELL YES {pardon my french} nearly every runner I know wants the opportunity to be one of the “every day runners” featured on the cover of Runner’s World.

I nearly leaped out of my chair when I saw it! What an opportunity!

Then…I noticed yet again it was a voting contest. I’d previously sworn these off as I hate the constant requests it requires us to make of our friends, family, readers, supporters…you get the drift.

BUT you know the old saying about if you don’t try…

Then I posted on FB asking for votes and my face did that funny thing, you know where you are trying to smile but it looks like maybe you’re constipated?  Of course, I rationalized it and tried to squish it down because what an opportunity…but then I posted on Twitter and it happened again. Eww this was not a good omen, how would I ever campaign hard enough when feeling so completely at odds with myself? Runner's World Magazine CoverREFOCUSING
Good bye unicorn…this was not our time to fly on rainbows. I didn’t have the heart to campaign hard enough and it turns out I’m 100% ok with that.  Maybe I didn’t feel worthy of it yet or maybe I just want to get there through other means, either way I can’t wait to see another EVERYDAY runner grace the cover of this magazine!

I started to see some of the people flying to the top of the leaderboard and you know what?They deserve it!  They are inspiring and authentic and unstoppable…So instead of putting energy in to something that doesn’t feel right, I’m happy to campaign for a few others on the list though that I know personally and think would be great…

Michele - Who many of you know as NYCRunningMama because not only is she wicked fast, but she manages to balance training and life. She’s a great coach and the badass spent time in Iraq in the army!

Frankie - This man single handedly changed the face of running in Miami. I know that sounds like an exaggerated claim, but really in the 3 1/2 years I lived there he took a couple running groups from 20 people to over 300.

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with anyone else going for this great opportunity and asking for votes like mad!! I think everyone does what is right for them and at the moment this just isn’t where my heart or head are at.

In the mean time, I’ll just have to find another way to get on the cover and hope I’m not making this face.IMG_6472How do you feel about the voting contests?

What magazine cover would you love to be on? 
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