Monday, January 19, 2015

The Best ChEAR squad ever

If you’ve ever run a longer distance race, you know how much influence that the spectators can have on you.  There are those that say “You’re almost there!” only a mile or two into a race and can get you in a tizzy (which, by the way, isn’t so funny when you’re running a half or full marathon) but then you have those who uplift you with their cheers and encouraging words and posters.

And that is what this post is all about.

If you’ve been following my blog since I started back in 2012, you know that I ran the 2013 runDisney Princess half marathon as my very first one.  This race was nothing but exciting for me…to run further than I’ve ever gone before AND to do it at the happiest place on earth…what could be better??  Being that this was my first big race with spectators along the course, it was a lot of fun for me to see the signs and the smiles on their faces as they cheered all the runners on.

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But one spectator really stood out to me (and sadly, I did not take a photo of her during the Princess half) but right outside of Epcot at around mile 12, I saw this woman sitting on a scooter with a sign that said “Hello Complete Stranger…I’m Proud Of You Too!”  It definitely brought a smile to my face and helped give me that extra push that I needed to finish the race.

As I became move involved in the runDisney community I learned who this super spectator, or ChEARleader in Disney language, was.  Her name was Peggy Sue, and she was as part of a runDisney race as the Disney characters who lined the course.  Her daughter also runs and she would travel with her to all the runDisney races that she could, and she always had her tried and true sign as well as some goodies in the basket of her scooter.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend 2013 when I flew out to California to participate in the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare race (that’s a 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday).  I ran the 10k with my friends Lena, Brandi, and Brandi’s mom, and as we approached mile 6, there was Peggy Sue, sitting on the course with her sign.  We cheered for HER as we ran passed as we always loved seeing her at races.  The next day during the half, Brandi and I were coming up on mile 12…it was hot, humid and we were ready to be done with the race.  Who did we see at mile 12?  None other than the infamous Peggy Sue :)  We ran up to her and graciously accepted the Starburst candies she offered to us and I was able to grab a selfie with her.

DDD 155

This year I ran the Wine and Dine half marathon (affectionately called the Splash and Dash by the participants).  If you didn’t already know, it rained during the ENTIRE race.  When you’re a slower runner like me, that’s a lot of time in the rain and wind with wet clothes and shoes on.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so miserable in my entire life.  As I was running along the Boardwalk area in front of the Yacht and Beach club resorts, I looked over and saw Peggy Sue…sitting on her scooter with a poncho on at 2 a.m. cheering for us runners in the rain.  While I didn’t stop for a picture, seeing her made me smile and I finished the toughest race I have yet to run.

Sadly, that would be the last time I would see Peggy Sue at a runDisney race.  She had been battling cancer for quite some time and passed away this morning.  The runDisney community has been saddened by this loss but we know that as we approach mile 12 of each and every runDisney race (or mile 25 of the full) Peggy Sue will be there in spirit with her sign “Hello Complete Stranger, I’m Proud Of You Too!!”

If you want to see how one person can have such an enormous impact on hundreds of people, click here to see a video that a fellow Disney Pacebook runner, Jennifer, has made in her honor/memory.

Peggy Sue’s favorite Disney character was Jiminy Cricket, and the song he sang in Pinocchio is perfect for the encouragement that she gave all runners that both knew her and didn’t know her.

jiminy cricket when you wish upon a star

Thank you Peggy Sue!  You will never be forgotten

Until next time,

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cleaning out my Closet

Hi gang!

With the new year I’ve decided to go through my running closet and try to get rid of some brand new and gently worn things that I have not been using, and I thought I’d pass along the opportunity for some of you to get your hands on some new gear at a discounted price :)  If you’re interested in any of the items please send me an email to hellofitnessjen at gmail dot com and they’ll be all yours!  US only, Paypal Friends/Family or Goods/Services only – Goods/Services will be a little more due to fees.  All prices include shipping.

Black with Red/Blue PRO Compression sleeves
polka dot sleeves 
These have only been worn once and were washed and hung to dry as instructed. They are a discontinued style from PRO Compression.  They are a size L/XL.
Asking price - Paypal $20 Friends/Family, $23 Goods/Services

Black PRO Compression sleeves
black sleeves
These have only been worn once and were washed and hung to dry as instructed.  They are a size L/XL.
Asking price - Paypal $20 Friends/Family, $23 Goods/Services

Red and Green striped PRO Compression sleeves
christmas sleeves
These have never been worn and are a discontinued style from PRO Compression.  They are a size L/XL.  Great for Christmas races.
Asking price - Paypal $25 Friends/Family, $28 Goods/Services

Gray PRO Compression sleeves
gray sleeves 
These have only been worn once and were washed and hung to dry as instructed. They are a discontinued style from PRO Compression.  They are a size SM.
Asking price - Paypal $20 Friends/Family, $23 Goods/Services

Orange Ragnar PRO Compression sleeves
ragnar sleeves 
I received these in a grab bag and don’t feel right wearing them as I have never done a Ragnar.  These have never been worn and are a discontinued style from PRO Compression.  They are a size L/XL. 
Asking price - Paypal $25 Friends/Family, $28 Goods/Services

Maroon PRO Compression long socks
maroon socks 
These have never been worn and are a discontinued style from PRO Compression.  They are a size L/XL.
Asking price - Paypal $25 Friends/Family, $28 Goods/Services

Blue Athleta Racer back Tank Top
Athleta tank
These is new with tags and never been worn.  I only tried it on.  The colors are more true in the picture on the left.  The picture on the right is to show the rouching on the shirt.  The shirt is a size XL.
Asking price - Paypal $35 Friends/Family, $38 shipped

Running Skirt from Running Skirts
running skirts 
This skirt is new with tags.  I only tried it on and decided that it wasn’t for me.  It is a fuchsia color (not quite as bright as the pictures show).  They have shorts underneath the skirt and 2 pockets on the side and a smaller one in the back.  Size is Size 5 (34-36” waist, equivalent to women’s size 14)
Asking price – Paypal $37 Friends/Family , $40 Goods/Services

Under Armour shorts
UA shorts
These shorts are new with tags – only tried them on.  They are black with white lining and semi-fitted, per the tag.  They do have the lining on the inside.  Size is XL.
Asking price – Paypal $17 Friends/Family, $20 Goods/Services

Under Armour compression leggings
UA pants
These are new with tags and have only been tried on.  They are a size large.
Asking price – Paypal $25 Friends/Family, $27 Goods/Services

Thanks for looking around!  I’ll update whenever items are sold as to not cause confusion.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Until next time,

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Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Post :)

Hi everyone!  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We were away at my parents celebrating Christmas where we ate all the yummy food and had a great Christmas morning -

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Then we headed up to their cabin in the north Georgia mountains for some R&R.  We lounged around a lot and enjoyed this view (when it wasn’t raining or foggy) -

cabin 07

We went into town one night for dinner, to watch UGA beat Louisville in the Belk Bowl, and play some trivia -

cabin 01 cabin 02

We had a low key New Year’s eve at a friend’s house watching the Orange Bowl.  When it came close to midnight I HAD to live stream the firework show from Walt Disney World -

cabin 03

On New Year’s day my mom prepared a fairly traditional Southern meal of ham, black eyed peas, cornbread, sweet potatoes, and my least favorite….turnip and collard greens…yuck!  I can only eat them with lots of sweet pickle juice poured on top.

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We spent most of the weekend inside as it was pretty rainy, so we broke out the Dominos game and played a few times…one night we were up until close to 2 a.m.!

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It was a really nice 2 weeks off of work and it will be hard to get back into the swing of things at work, but I’m ready to start the new year off right in so many ways (more to come on that later)

In the meantime, I hope each of you is geared up and having a fantastic start to 2015!

cabin 05

Until next time,

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Four Things

My sweet friends Karen at Just Me and My Running Shoes and Lauren at LNRB For Miles both tagged me to participate in a “Four Things” post.  I guess they missed my blogging and wanted to see me jump back into it :)  Well ladies it worked!


Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

- Nowicki (my maiden name)
- Jen
- Honey (only Jason haha!)
- Hey you! (lol I don’t really have a 4th)


Four jobs I have had:

- summer 4-H camp counselor
- basketball coach
- recreation counselor
- financial aid officer

 jen karen

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- Mary Poppins
- Wolf of Wall Street
- The Big Lebowski (hubby watches it all.the.time)


Four books I’d recommend:

- 50 Shades of Grey (hehe)
- P.S. I Love You
- Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World
- any good cookbook

jen goofy

Four places I have lived:

- Franklin, GA
- Barnesville, GA
- Dahlonega, GA
- Cumming, GA


Four places I have been:

- Alaska
- Hawaii
- Barbados
- Grand Cayman

jen stitch

Four places I’d rather be right now:

- Disney World
- my parents cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains
- on a warm beach somewhere
- with my wonderful running friends


Four things I don’t eat:

- mushrooms
- shellfish
- eggs
- rutabagas

triple peach

Four of my favorite foods:

- Pizza
- Mexican
- Sushi
- soft pretzels

soft pretzel

Four TV shows that I watch:

- The Amazing Race
- The Biggest Loser
- The Big Bang Theory
- Burn Notice


Four things I am looking forward to this year:

- getting back into running
- working out at the new Orange Theory Fitness studio
- making even more memories with my running friends
- to see what surprises 2015 may hold


Four things I’m always saying:

- Sad panda
- What up yo
- That’s funny
- Seriously?


Four People I Tag:

- Ashley
- Amy
- Julie
- Lena

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2015 Esprit de She Ambassador

I am excited to announce that I will be returning as an ambassador for the 2015 Esprit de She race series!

I enjoyed my first Esprit de She in 2013 at Piedmont Park, and while I was not able to run in 2014 because I was at Walt Disney World for the Wine and Dine half marathon weekend (awesome Christmas/birthday gift from the hubby last year!) I heard that the race directors made some great improvements from 2013 and it was a success! 

esprit de she 11

I would love for some of my local Atlanta running girls to join me on Thursday, November 5th for either a 5k or a 10k followed by cocktails and tapas!  AND…if you sign up by December 31st, you’ll get this very cool Moxie Cycling color block tee (while supplies last)!  If you don’t cycle there are plenty of different things you could use this shirt for.  I personally love the vibrant colors and the chevron!

moxie shirt

These prices are as low as they’ll get…$35 for the 5k and $40 for the 10k until December 31st.  If you are a member of Lifetime Fitness, you can register for $30 for the 5k and $35 for the 10K!  After that the prices go up.  I know you’re probably saying “That’s a lot for a 5k/10k”…but this race really hooks you up with some great swag and perks!

With your race registration, you will receive -

  • Customized race bib if registered by September 18, 2015
  • Two complimentary drinks at our signature Bubbly Bar at the Southwest Porch at the Park Tavern (right near the finish line!), plus your own GoVino wine glass (21 and over only)
  • Healthy post-race tapas and treats
  • Access to our Panasonic Beauty Bar powered by LifeSpa with complimentary massage, mini manicures, blow outs and hair braiding
  • Professional event timing and live results messaging to track and promote your race success
  • Invitation to join Finish Line Training from Life Time Run
  • Awards for top finishers

I also am loving the race shirt this year -

If you want to take a look at the course map, you can check it out here.  The 10k is a loop course.

Got your attention yet?  You can register by clicking here and make sure you use my code EDS015.  It truly is a fun girls night out.

I hope to see you at the Atlanta race in 2015!  If you have any questions please feel free to shoot them my way :)

Until next time,

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Baking Recipes

Hi guys!  I’ve been getting a lot of requests for the recipes of the cookies I’ve been baking and posting on social media, so I thought I would share them here so that everyone could have access to them whenever they wanted!  I’ve actually been really good about limiting myself to just a couple a day – for whatever reason, I normally do not eat what I bake…weird right??

I hope you guys enjoy the recipes and I look forward to hearing and seeing how they went!

Sugar Cookies
sugar cookies

The first batch I made I was not happy with, so after scouring the internet I stumbled across In Katrina’s Kitchen.  She had a sugar cookie recipe that you 1) don’t have to refrigerate the dough before working with, and 2) the cookies kept their shape more and didn’t plump out like my previous recipe.  I was so incredibly pleased with the outcome of these cookies!  You can find the recipe to her sugar cookies here.

Hubby requested icing on the cookies instead of the usual colored sugar sprinkles, so again, I turned to the internet to find a good recipe.  The website The Kitchn had a simple recipe for icing and I decided to give it a try.  They have 2 different recipes for the border icing and the flooding icing.  Once I got to the trees I discovered the border icing made them look a little sloppy for my liking, so I very carefully used just the flood icing.  It’s a bit thinner so you have to be careful not to put too much or it will ooze over the side (I had a couple do it on me).  You can color the icing however you want it makes for fun, festive cookies!  Click here for the recipe.

The Grinch Cookies
grinch cookies

I had a bit of time on my lunch break at work and decided to browse Pinterest as I had not done this in awhile.  I came across these oh so cute cookies and decided that I HAD to bake them.  I also found these on In Katrina’s Kitchen (she has some amazing looking eats!) and it’s super easy and would be fun to do with the kids.  I found the heard at Party City over in the baking section.  They come in a tube along with pink hearts, but I just picked the red ones out and used those.  Find the recipe here.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
choco crinkle
I remember making these when I was in Minnesota for Christmas back in 2007 – I was able to set them in the garage for a few minutes to allow the dough to chill…that’s how cold it was!  These are also incredibly easy to make and don’t take very long at all! 

All you need is:
1 box Devil’s Food Cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

Mix the cake mix, oil and eggs together until wet.  Put in fridge for 30 minutes.  Put powdered sugar in a bowl.  Roll the mix into 1” balls, roll in powdered sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.  Allow them to cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.


Yes, I know it has a crazy name, but it’s really not a crazy dessert!  I am part Polish and these are a traditional Polish dessert.  They are actually very light and not super sweet.  My grandma would always have these in the house at Christmas, and I hadn’t made them in a few years so I decided now was the perfect time.

Your ingredients include:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 jigger rum, preferably a dark rum

Using a KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and salt until lemon colored.  Add butter and sugar – beat well.  Add rum.  Change to a dough hook.  Add about 1/2 cup flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.  Transfer to a well floured board.  Separate the dough into smaller sections.  Roll dough very thin and cut into small strips about 4 inches long.  Slit each strip down the middle and pull one end through the strip.  Fry in hot oil (350-375 degrees) until lightly browned.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

The recipe recommends using peanut oil, which is what I used. 

Peppermint Meringues

I have made these for the past few years and they are always a big hit.  They are another easy recipe to make, and at only 30 calories for 3, you won’t feel like you’re overindulging!  Back in 2012 I discovered Skinnytaste, a website with hundreds of recipes for your favorite foods with a healthy twist to the recipes.  I have found so many wonderful recipes on her page, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Check out the recipe here.

White Chocolate Dipped Cherry Thins
cherry walnut

Every year my grandparents send us a food box from General Mills.  It contains new products that they’re coming out with in the next year and also includes a cookbook.  Last year’s cookbook was “The Big Book of Cookies”.  I finally dug it out and flipped through it only to find these yummy looking cookies.  What I love about this recipe is that you can make the dough ahead of time and put it in the fridge before baking, and can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months – great for throwing some cookies in the oven for spur of the moment guests!

Your ingredients include:

1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 container (8 oz) red candied cherries, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup walnuts
1 package vanilla flavored candy coating (almond bark)
Colored sugar sprinkles (optional)

In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extracts, and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  On low speed, beat in flower, baking soda and salt.  Stir in cherries and walnuts.  Divide dough into two 8 inch logs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut rolls into 1/8” slices.  On an ungreased cookie sheet, place the slices about 2 inches apart.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool slightly and then remove from cookie sheets to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Microwave the candy coating as directed on package until melted and smooth.  Dip about 1/3 of each cookie at an angle into the coating, allowing the excess coating to drip off.  Placed on waxed paper and sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.  Allow to stand one hour or until coating is set.

I found that if I melted the coating in the container it comes in and then pouring it into a bowl or glass it made dipping the cookies a little easier.  I really like the way the green sprinkles pop off the candy coating.  My husband had some of these cookies with coffee tonight after dinner and really likes them.

I hope you guys enjoy these recipes if you decide to bake them :)  Please share with me on social media if you do! 

Happy baking!

Until next time,

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