Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Oh What Fun It Is To FINISH!! #JingleBellRun

Oh what fun it is to FINISH!!!
  This was the scene 7 years ago as I crossed the finish time for the first time!! LIKE EVER CROSSED A FINISH LINE. I look back on this picture and I have so many different emotions about it.

1. I wore the LONG SLEEVE Cotton Event Shirt. I was so proud of it. I would NEVER wear a cotton tshirt when I run now!! My pants were some kind of weird cotton-type material. I didn't own any dri-fit or running clothes. Seriously, I had a runner bib too?!? I had no idea that I had to pin it on my shirt. This was all so new. I'll never forget it...I was #309.

2.  My shoes were 2 1/2 sizes SMALLER than what I wear now. Oh how I learned the importance of the right fit over the years. I hated the thought of having to wear bigger shoes. I suck it up now and it phases me zero. I'm a tall girl with big feet, therefore I wear big shoes but I do not get shin splints, ankle/knee problems....The injury-free trade off is fabulous and the right shoes are everything.

3. December 1st, 2007 was my 35th Birthday. I was making a statement to the world. I had been a stay at home mommy to my babies for years and I desperately needed some "Kristin Time". Boy oh boy did this day ever change my life!! Now I look forward to birthdays just so that I can move up in my age bracket. How crazy is that?? I WANT to be 50 so bad that I can hardly stand it!! I wanna bring home the bling, baby!

4. My first official finish time was 35:57. I was proud. I was devastated. I ran. I walked. I could not understand how people were finishing with any times any lower than mine. 35:57 was all I had in me. I almost threw up. I ate like a horse after the race was over. My legs and thighs hurt for days after this race. I loved every minute and knew that I would not give up until I finished a race in under 30 minutes. I had a new goal. I wanted to be able to run an entire 5k without stopping. I reached that goal the following April. It took me four months of hard training but I did it.

5.  I SCRAPBOOKED  this monumental event AND bought the race photo!!! Who has time to scrapbook anymore?!?! And who really buys their race pics after every race?? I wish I had a million dollars because I would so go back to every race I ever ran and buy my pics. I would buy all of my running friends pictures too....I think one million bucks would cover it. ;) Our race pictures are out there in cyber race photo land just waiting for me. :)

Railroad Park Birmingham, Al.
New home of the Jingle Bell Run 
      Fast forward 7 years later and I'm still running the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5K benefitting the Arthritis Foundation. This is an excellent cause to run for...I have several friends whose kids suffer from this awful disease so I like to support this race!
At the Start Line with the twins.
The Start Line.
     In Birmingham, this race has previously been located in the Southside area. This year, it moved locations to the new Railroad Park downtown.  I love this location....the course was super flat and fast. I ran the fastest 5K that I've ran in a long time. 

     My official time was 25:15!! I was SOOOOOO excited about that!!  I officially shaved off 10 minutes from my first 5K time. I could not have been happier. I've been working on speed at the gym so it's nice to see my work paying off. Now if I could just start seeing those abs...still working on that. grrrr.

25:15 is still not fast enough to place in my age group for this race...1st place ran in 19minutes.
There's no way I'll ever be that fast!!
My Aunt placed in her age group though...Boo for me but yay for her.
Not too shabby for a 60year old! (She's my moms' twin) #GoodGenes
The Course:

     We started out at Railroad Park (which is adjacent to the new Regions Park Baseball Stadium), ran a few blocks and then headed over towards Boutwell Auditorium, passing the legendary 16th Street Baptist Church, newly renovated Lyric Theatre and the beautiftul  Alabama Theatre. After that we were running  towards UAB.
Lyric Theatre
   On the streets of Birmingham,  I tried and tried to get a clear pic of this guy in front of me. He had HO HO HO on his hiney and I thought that deserved a spot in my blog. ;)

Post Race:
     After running around the UAB area, we headed back towards downtown and finished at Railroad Park.  Domino's Pizza, Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, bananas, Pure Protein Bars (Strawberry and Chocolate Peanut Butter), Dasani Water, and Powerade were all waiting for us at the Finish Line Festivities. Impressive Spread!

     There were lots of costumes at this race, tents set up for some of the kids with Arthiritis who had formed teams and Santa even had his own race for the kids....a Santa Chase!
Post race festivities at Railroad Park.
I snapped this pic towards the end...there were many more people immediately following the race!
I thought these guys were pretty cute!
They covered all of the Christmas Characters. ;)
Matchy Matchy with the big dude.

No race would be complete without at least one Selfie.
Speaking of scrapbooking, I ran into one of my favorite running friends Gretchen McElveen!
Check out her blog....She's pretty famous in that world. :)
     I'm kind of sad to tell the 2014 running year goodbye. I've had a REALLY GREAT running year but by telling 2014 goodbye, that can only mean one thing.....HELLO 2015!! I've already got some fabulous races on my calendar for next year and I will definitely be running the Jingle Bell Run again next December! I'll be there will bells on! :)
This was the official cotton event tshirt this year. 
For more information on this race in your area and the Arthritis Foundation, please visit Arthritis.org.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Getting Out My Suitcase #MondayMotivation

   I knew that Christmas was right around the corner but seriously, 24 days until Dopey Challenge Weekend?!? I can hardly wait!!

     After running this challenge last year, I'm approaching my training a little differently this year. I have not been as stressed about the long runs. I'm focusing more on quality runs. I am also trying to get more sleep leading up to this event. Honestly, that is what completely wiped me out last year! I was exhausted!!!

     Don't get me wrong, I've got a few weekends left and plan on getting a few long runs in... But I'm just ready to run already! 

     I know that I am ready to go when I've started packing my running clothes. ;)  

Am I the only person who has started packing??

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Sports Drink made from Aloe Vera Plants?!? My pHenoh 7.4 Review

Welcome to my pHenOH 7.4 Alkaline Sports Drink Review!
     Trying out new products is always so intriguing to me especially when the products are something that I would have NEVER bought on my own. Introducing pHenOH 7.4 Alkaline Sports Drink! 

     When I was asked to try out this brand new Alkaline sports drink, I have to admit....I did not even know that sports drinks could be made from aloe vera plants!!! I'm a green thumb and have plants all over my house. My aloe vera plants are some of my faves. I use the aloe for all sorts of things but NEVER have I ever thought of drinking anything made from it.  Call me crazy but I have A LOT to learn when it comes to sports drinks. 

What's in pHenOH 7.4?
    This product is a sports drink that contains only 7 ingredients.
  • Organic Aloe Vera is a nutrient rich, natural anti-microbial with anti-inflammatory properties containing amino acids and glycoproteins needed for rebuilding muscles during and after exercise. It is also high in acemannan, which boosts immune function, kills viruses, and promotes healthy digestion.
  • Organic Agave Nectar provides a low glycemic index to promote a slower and stable effect on blood sugar. Inulin fiber helps to regulate the rate of nutrient absorption and suppress the discomfort of hunger.
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is an essential nutrient with a wide range of benefits including protection against free radicals produced during exercise, immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problem and eye disease.
  • Dipotassium Phosphate is a natural mineral buffer that neutralizes acidic metabolites that are harmful to our health and contribute to fatigue. Research shows that our patent pending buffer system can dramatically increase the amount of oxygen delivered to our cells during exercise.
  • Magnesium Chloride allows for ideal absorption of alkalizing minerals like calcium, and also plays important role in proper metabolic function and cellular communication.
  • Natural Fruit Flavors used to provide Phenoh 7.4 with it’s refreshing taste do not contain any harmful additives or preservatives.
  • Water! It makes up about 60% of who you are!

A little more info about pHenOH 7.4: 

     Phenoh 7.4 is a paleo-friendly drink made with JUST 7 natural ingredients each playing an important role in promoting health and wellness. Phenoh 7.4 is made with the finest organic Aloe vera, sweetened with naturally low glycemic organic agave nectar, and is high in potassium with no added sodium. Phenoh 7.4 is also fortified with magnesium and vitamin C to promote healthy metabolism and help build a strong immune system. At just 30 calories per 8oz serving, Phenoh 7.4 is your healthy beverage alternative to sports hydration and everyday refreshment.

A Lesson in "ALKALINE":

The packaging: 

     With 2 servings per container, this drink contains 60 calories, 0g of fats, and is an excellent source of potassium! As a runner, I'm always looking at the sodium and potassium content of drinks. It's hard to find a healthy balance. 

     The packaging was "green" and easy to throw in my gym bag! I didn't have to worry about a bottle breaking. This drink was packaged in a durable recyclable paper container.

     I tried one at the end of my workout at home and one at the gym. At home, I poured it into a glass with no ice. At the gym, I drank the drink right from the carton. Both times I drank the drink at room temperature but I think I will prefer to drink it colder the next time. 

The results are in: 

     The look of this drink is yellowish in color, was not carbonated at all and had a mildly sweet taste. I could really taste the agave nectar sweetener and the aloe plant but it was was much different than I expected. I was expecting this drink to be either really really sweet or really salty like other sports drinks and it was neither of the two! I would describe it as a very smooth drink. Not too thick either.  Overall, I would recommend this drink to any of my runner friends and highly encourage them to try something totally different, something "green" and something alkaline. 

     Now for the most important thing for me....Did this drink cause stomach issues? For me, it did not cause any stomach issues at all. I was worried about this seeing how it was naturally sweetened with agave nectar. Typically, I don't drink any drinks with any added sugars or sweeteners so I wasn't sure how my stomach would react. So far, so good! 

     I apologize for the very un-glamorous post workout pic....my drink was much prettier than me! :) 

For more information on pHenOH 7.4, please visit phenoh.com for more details. 

Disclaimer: I was provided a case of pHenOH 7.4 to review and provide my honest feedback. All opinions are my own. :) 

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Race Schedule #MondayMotivation

Whenever I need a boost, I take a look at my race schedule and then I KNOW there's no time for slacking!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BTC Triple Crown Challenge...36.3 Miles, Mission Complete!

Welcome to my Birmingham Track Club Triple Crown Challenge Recap!
     Training for a 48.6 mile race that takes place over the course of four days (aka runDisney's DopeyChallenge) is just tough. It takes determination. It takes focus. It takes ALOT of willpower. Quite frankly, it can be exhausting and mentally draining at times. Training for me began on June 1st so I knew going into it that there were to be a ton of miles to run between June and January.  When I decided to register for the 2015 Dopey Challenge, I knew how long I would be training and I knew that I would need to mix up my long runs. But hey, I wanted to run with my peeps anyways so this was just another way for us to meet up on the weekends. Not too shabby of a plan.

      There's one thing that I know for sure...my friends are just crazy and I love each and every one of them dearly. They make me laugh, keep me in the right frame of mind, they call me out if I'm being a pansy, they keep me motivated and they are absolute FOOLS when it comes to making fun of each other. And please oh please don't let there be a staircase for them to run up and down after a race...because that's what they do. They are insane. Most of this insanity unfolds on my Facebook on a daily basis and I love it. All of this to say...AKA: They rock my running world!

2014 Birmingham Track Club Triple Crown Bling!
Earned Double the Bling!
     I decided that if I was going to be running a ridiculous amount of mileage, I might as well run those long runs and earn a few medals along the way. I registered for the Birmingham Track Club Triple Crown Challenge. This is where you run (3) Half Marathons within three months for a total of 36.3 miles. The races that were included in the Triple Crown Challenge were the Talladega Half Marathon in Talladega, Al. (September), the UCP Life Without Limits Half Marathon in Florence, Alabama (October) and the Magic City Half Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. (November). After each race, you receive a medal and then you receive an additional medal upon completion of all three races. Bring on the Bling!

     There were four of us that completed all three races together, earning the extra medal. The other friends either ran one or two of the three and if they weren't there for whatever reason, they were at home cheering us on. #BEST.

Talladega Half Marathon:
2014 Talladega Half Marathon Bling!
     13.1 Miles around the Nascar Talladega Superspeedway....Kachow! This is one of my most favorite races. I've ran it five years now and plan to always run it. I mean, how can you go wrong with running around an official NASCAR track. Who am I? Tom Petty?? Oh wait, wrong Petty. Lol. Just kidding Richard and Kyle...I know my Petty boys, I grew up about 15 minutes from this Nascar track!
Come on....it doesn't get much better than this!
Running on the Nascar track!

     Talk about feeling like a Superstar...oh yeah, that's me as I'm lapping around the racetrack like a winner.  The race benefits Prostate Cancer and finishes on Pit Row with a great after party in the pit garages full of Beer, Bands and BBQ! It's Dega Baby!!
Before we headed to the Start Line of Talladega Half!
Earned the Bling!
Hanging out on Pit Row with the Peeps!
Start Line with my Sis!
This is a race we always meet up for!
Finished this race with Rachel....super fun!
UCP Life Without Limits Half Marathon:
2014 Life Without Limits Half Marathon Bling!
     Life Without Limits Half Marathon in Florence Alabama takes you on a 13.1 mile scenic tour of beautiful Florence, Alabama., crossing over the Tennesee River twice and running us through corn fields! I'm not kidding...I loved that!  Proceeds went to United Cerebral Palsy and the community came out in tremendous support for this cause! After the race, we ate a DELICIOUS BBQ Chicken meal complete with all of the fixins'. Welcome to Alabama ya'll!
Running over the Tennessee River!
Seriously. A quarter of a BBQ chicken for a post race meal...
Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!
Earned the Bling!
This is our "One of these are not like the others pic"
Could be the guy with the banana stuffed in his mouth, just sayin'. 
Magic City Half Marathon:
2014 Magic City Half Marathon Bling!
     The Magic City Half Marathon located in Birmingham, Alabama takes you on a "running" tour of some of Birminghams legendary Sporting locations. We passed by Legion Field, (Home of the 1996 Olympics), Rickwood Field (The oldest Ballpark Stadium in the country) and finished up at the new Regions Park in Downtown (Home of the Birmingham Barons). This is a great course, great post-race venue with lots of craft beer on tap and they hit it out of the ballpark this year with the medal. It was PRETTY SWEET!
Rickwood Field Selfie!
Earned the Bling!
After the Finish at Magic City Half
     The race benefits the Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts. Ruben Studdard, American Idol Second season winner, always helps out on race day either handing out awards, making announcements, running the race and cheering on the runners. Let's just say....I've been known to bust a move with Ruben post-race. Just sayin'. I'm proud to say that I've helped out on the committee for this race since day one. This is a race that will always be near and dear to my heart! Love that sweet Hometown boy.
Ruben gave me the thumbs up on the Bling!
     Overall, I can honestly say that training for a big marathon event like Dopey Challenge really doesn't suck the life out of me too bad.....I would run these races with my friends a million times again even if I wasn't "in training". We ran in the heat at Dega, in the cold in Florence and in the rain at Magic City. Three completely different races, three completely different courses, three completely different cities but three of the best experiences that I've had. I owe it all to my peeps who continue to make me laugh and keep me doing what I love to do. And oh yeah, those Race Directors and Committees for these races....You're not so bad either! See ya next year Triple Crown Challenge, me and my peeps will be coming for that triple bling again! :)

For more information on The Birmingham Triple Crown Challenge, please visit BirminghamTrackClub.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Build Your Race Calendar with Rock 'n' Roll Tour Pass! #MyRNRTour

Register Today for prices as low as $59 then build your personalized race calendar and share your plans!
     One of the things that I really dig about the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series is that occasionally they will do a quick one-day sale! The prices are really good and worth getting in on the action! Today, for one day only, they are offering prices as low as $59! Gosh!! That's insanely inexpensive for a quality race.

What is a Tour Pass? 
--With a Rock ‘n’ Roll TourPass, choose from several registration packages and gain entry to multiple Rock ‘n’ Roll events during the calendar year.

Choose from these races/locations: 
Dec 06 - 07, 2014San Antonio, TX
Jan 17 - 18, 2015Arizona
Jan 25, 2015New Orleans, LA
Mar 14, 2015Washington DC
Mar 15, 2015Mexico City, Mexico
Mar 22, 2015Dallas, TX
Mar 29, 2015San Francisco, CA
Mar 29, 2015Carlsbad, CA
Apr 12, 2015Raleigh, NC
Apr 25, 2015Nashville, TN
Apr 26, 2015Madrid, Spain
May 17, 2015Portland, OR
May 29, 2015San Diego, CA
Jun 13, 2015Seattle, WA
Jun 14, 2015Liverpool, UK
Jul 18 - 19, 2015Chicago, IL
Aug 02, 2015Dublin, Ireland
Sep 05 - 06, 2015Virginia Beach, VA
Sep 20, 2015Montreal
Sep 26 - 27, 2015San Jose, CA
Oct 18, 2015Denver, CO
Oct 18, 2015Lisbon, Portugal
Oct 17 - 18, 2015St. Louis, MO
Oct 25, 2015Los Angeles, CA **
Oct 25, 2015Vancouver, BC
Nov 07, 2015Savannah, GA
Nov 13 - 15, 2015Las Vegas, NV
TBAPhiladelphia, PA

Hurry over to RunRocknRoll.com to learn more information as to how you can snag your own Tour Pass! 

I know that I have at least 3, maybe four Rock 'n' Roll events on my calendar for 2015. Hope to see you there!

Happy Running and Happy Shopping! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My ContourSide Pillow by Relax The Back Review #SideSleeper

Stress Free Mail Day!
Welcome to my ContourSide Pillow Review by Relax The Back
  I have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately so when I was selected to review The ContourSide Pillow from Relax The Back as part of a Fitfluential Campaign, I was BEYOND excited. I've said it one million times... I just don't get enough sleep! Lack of Sleep=Stress. 

     Being a runner, I am always just pounding my joints and I know that my back and posture suffer because of it. I wouldn't say that I have back pain but I would say that I use the heck out of my foam roller. I couldn't live without trying to take care of my back in some way.  In my next life as a runner, I will be able to afford weekly massages and really take care of myself but as it is now, I just do what I can minus the massages so getting quality sleep should help. :)

Let's Talk Sleep.
      The first question that I asked myself when I received this pillow in the mail was..."How do I really sleep?"  It takes me all of about 5 minutes or less to fall asleep once I lay down. I don't really toss and turn too much and I'm definitely a side sleeper. I sleep like a log. I don't get up in the middle of the night. I'm not a snuggler. I like my space. I am a BEAR if you wake me up for no reason while I am sleeping.  My problem is not falling asleep and staying asleep, it's more the unwinding and actually shutting down my brain and getting into the bed. I'm a night owl so my brain is swirling at that time of the day.  TMI, I know but hey, we're talking sleep so there ya have it.

     I checked the website and figured out that I was going to order the ContourSide Pillow in a size Large. It stated that the Large was for people who are 5'10" and taller with broad shoulders. I'm definitely not a tiny mite and am about 5'8" so I figured that was close enough and I ordered it.  Plus....my hubby is 6ft tall so I thought he may like to try out my new pillow.....maybe. Most likely I will not let him near it. Sorry hubby but you know that it's true. ;)

     When it arrived in the mail, it was HUGE! I had no idea just how flat my pillows at home are now until I tried this one out. The dimensions are 24"x12"x5". That's 5" deep. It has a cradle in the center so my head just kinda sinks down into it while providing great support. I had no back pain for sure when I woke up the next morning. Here's to great nights of sleep ahead!

     I slept on it last night and the one thing that I realized is that I don't just sleep on a pillow, I actually turn the pillow kind of sideways and use the whole thing to wrap up on. I'm pretty sure that I sleep with my mouth open when I'm really tired and I dream ridiculously. Kind of weird I know, but hey...again, we're talking sleep and we've all got our quirks. So mine is laying sideways with a pillow and dreaming!?  Definitely not the worst habits in the world!
This is me about to test out the ContourSide Pillow by Relax The Back for the first time.
It's kinda hard to take a serious "I'm about to go to sleep pic". ;)
More information on the ContourSide Pillow by Relax The Back:
More Facts on the ContourSide Pillow
The pillow’s airflow system maximizes airflow to improve breathing. Cream, cotton velour cover is removable for washing. The full facial cradle offers soothing comfort while reducing pressure on the jaw and ear and the shoulder cradle provides orthopedically correct support for the head and neck, which means proper spinal alignment, less impact from body weight on the shoulder, and improved circulation. 

Latex free pillow and cover:
Standard: (3", 4", and 5"): 24"x12"
Travel: (3" or 4"): 16"L x 12"W

Sizing Chart:
Travel: (available in Small 3" and Medium 4")
Small: 3" - For 5'4" and shorter.
Medium: 4" - For 5'5" and taller
Large: 5" - For 5'10" and taller with broad shoulders
Please allow 5-10 business days for order processing and ground shipping.

Facebook Contest:
Now for the fun part! You can WIN your own ContourSide Pillow by heading over to Relax The Back's Facebook Page and either liking or leaving a comment on the photo below. Good Luck! I would love it if one of my readers actually won their own pillow!!

**For more information on the ContourSide Pillow by Relax The Back and other great products, please visit RelaxTheBack.com or visit your local Relax The Back Store for your personal pillow fitting.