Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Esprit de She Ambassador!

I'm so excited to announce that for the 4th year in a row I have been selected to be an ambassador for the Esprit de She race series!
It's been such an honor to represent this series since they first started back in 2013. They have a great message to send and it's been really cool to see them grow!

If you're looking for a great race experience for runners of all ages and fitness levels, this is definitely one to zero in on!  Before the race starts, you can walk around the marketplace and check out the different vendors, or stop by the beauty bar and get your hair braided or a mini massage to loosen up those muscles!
After the race is over, head into the Park Tavern's Southwest Porch and grab some SUPER tasty treats!  This past year we noshed on veggies and hummus, wraps, and spinach artichoke dip!  Don't forget to swing by the Bubbly Bar for a glass of wine to toast your race!
They know how to treat a girl right!  They always have a great race goodie bag and finisher shirts...and new this year for Atlanta, all finishers will receive a finisher's medal with a removable charm!  You can flaunt your medal after the race and have a small keepsake to wear every day to remind you of your race experience!

The Esprit de She race series offers many races across the country...even a few triathlons and duathlons along with running events!  You can check out where they'll be here

The ladies at Esprit de She were nice enough to give me a discount code to share with my readers...it gets you $5 off and it's good for ANY of their races!
Check them out and join me at the Esprit de She Atlanta 5k/10k on Thursday, November 3rd!

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jingle Jog 5k recap

I'm still trying to play catch up on my blog.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, I started a new job and my hours haven't exactly been consistent, so it's been hard for me to sit down and write up some blog posts.  

Last month I decided to run the Jingle Jog 5k in Cumming.  I ran this a couple of years ago and, while the course is a bit hilly (hey, it is Georgia) I wanted to see how I would do since my 5k time had been consistently improving.

I was fortunate enough to get a bib through J's company (thanks Hansgrohe!).  

As tradition has it (and to make it easier when I get up in the morning) I lay out Flat Jen - it made me laugh that I ended up with Bib 1....ha!



The race was only about 5 minutes from my house (yay for local races!) and it had a later start time, so I always welcome getting a few extra minutes of sleep.  Parking was super easy, and I had some time to stop by the Hansgrohe water table to chat with them as well as walk around to check out the fun outfits people were wearing.

 

As I walked around the race area, I heard someone yell "JEN!"  I turned around and saw my sweet friend, Zoila, and her hubby, Chris (who I went to college with).  




I hadn't see her since the Peachtree Road Race so it was wonderful to catch up with her!  Chris was running with some of his Army buddies, so Zoila decided to join me.  The only goal I had for this race was a course PR, and Zoila wanted to push herself a little more.

The race started right on time, and we were off!  Within the first half mile you go up a decent hill, but we stuck with our intervals and made it up.  The course has rolling hills (as do most race courses in Georgia) but we kept a good pace and enjoyed each others company.  The volunteers on the course were great, but there were some super creepy looking "gnomes"...they reminded me of a bad version of the dwarves from "Snow White".  I didn't get to take a picture of them, but just trust me on this one...

The nice thing about going up hills is that you have to come down, and we had a very nice downhill finish.  Once we crossed the finish line i saw that I got a 6 minute PR!  We walked up and got our shirts, some water, and then hung out for a bit.  One of our OTF members was also running so I walked back to the finish line to try and see her finish, but sadly I missed her! :( 

 

Although the website said "No dogs allowed", there were a couple of cute pups who trekked the 3.1 miles with their humans.


Local races are always fun to do, and this is one that I really enjoy.  I'll be back again next year gunning for that PR!




Did you do a Christmas race this year?  

Until next time,


 
 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Looking Back at 2015

Whew...this has been a crazy work week for me!  I finally had time to come up for air and write a post I've been thinking a lot about.

2015 has come and gone, and just like every other year, it feels like it flew by!  And just like every year, it was full of ups and downs, but thankfully, mostly ups!

I found a new, fun place to work out!


 
After a friend in Florida told me I needed to check out Orangetheory Fitness, I jumped at it when I found out one was opening close to my house.  I took classes before there was even equipment in the studio and became a founding member, going 4-5 days a week!  Now, I work there part-time and love sharing my experience with others.  The members, staff, and coaches at my studio are seriously amazing and they make it such a fun time to spend an hour working out.  If you've never been to Orangetheory Fitness I highly recommend checking them out.  I've improved my endurance during runs as well as lost close to 30 pounds.  Check to see if there's a location near you! 

Finding my stride again

Toward the end of 2014, I was seriously burned out from running...After the Atlanta half marathon on Thanksgiving day and having a disaster of a race, I decided I needed a small break from running, and that's exactly what I did.  During that break was when I started going to OTF on a regular basis.  After a little peer pressure I signed up for a half in April...I didn't do nearly as much long distance training that I should have, but I could certainly tell a difference in the way I was running...I even got a course PR!  Seeing the improvement made me excited to run again..I even PRed my 5k distance 2 times in 3 weeks!  I'm excited to see where 2016 will take me on the pavement.

A girls weekend/racecation to Disneyland
 
I was very fortunate to be able to travel to Disneyland for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend this year!  It was such an amazing time with some wonderful friends, both old and new.  You know you have great friends when you can go a couple of years without seeing each other and you're able to pick up like you'd just seen each other yesterday.  We came from both coasts...Georgia, Florida, Washington, and California to The Happiest Place on Earth for what we dubbed as #DiamondGirlsWeekend.  We laughed, we ate, we drank, and we ran - I miss these ladies like crazy and we're already planning our next #DiamondGirlsWeekend.

With those highs also came a couple of lows -

Losing my job
 
Last February, my team at work as well as others were brought into a room and told that our company was in the process of being purchased and, as a result, they would be downsizing.  They couldn't tell us when the sale would be final as there was a lot of red tape they had to go through, so for 6 months we continued to plug along, not sure of when our jobs would come to an end.  As scary as it was to think about ending a job I had been at for close to 9 years, it was also a good thing...I needed to move onto something different and this was the push that forced it.  I wasn't too torn up about it (obviously as you can tell from my picture) but not having a job for 2 months was definitely not glamorous.  Thankfully, the owner at my OTF hired me as a sales associate.  I've started a new full time job but still work at OTF one day a week.  The real kicker?  I found out the sale went through when I was at Disneyland...haha!  So what do I do?  I grab a celebration button and drinks!



Lost friendships



 
We all know that people come and go out of our lives...some we have control over while others we don't.  Nothing necessarily "happened" for these friendship to fizzle - no arguments or anything like that.  We are probably just in two different places in our lives, and I understand that.  It's still a bit sad when you think back on all the fun times you had together, but things change...people change...and all you can do is move forward.  A friend shared this photo with me and it's so very true...I still think highly of them and if our friendships spark back up I'd be happy to have them back in my life, but if not, I wish them well with their lives.  A plus side to this is that some of my existing friendships have grown closer, and I'm excited to see where the new friendships I've started will go.  :)  

As my friend, Justin, would say... #MakingLemonadeOutta

So there you have it...my thoughts on my 2015.  I'm always excited to start a new chapter in my life, and 2016 is shaping up to be an awesome year.  I look forward to taking you guys along for the ride!

Until next time,




Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gonna #keepittight in 2016!

If you've been following me for awhile, you know that I love me some PRO Compression socks-






I had the honor of serving as a 2015 PRO Compression ambassador, and I am excited to announce that I have been selected as part of the 2016 PRO Compression ambassador team!
Last year was a blast with my fellow ambassadors - it was so much fun sharing the PC love on our social media outlets and our friends and meeting up with each other during race weekends.  I've managed to turn my coworkers at OTF onto PC socks, my husband now likes the low trainers, and I'm even known as "The girl with the tall socks" by one of the trainers at our sister OTF studio :)

I am so appreciative and humbled to be asked back for a second year - I know it's going to be epic!  Be on the lookout for lots of posts, pictures, and maybe even a giveaway...I can't wait to share the PRO love with y'all!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide For Runners

‘Tis the season, right??

I love buying gifts for my family and friends.  There’s something so satisfying about picking out a gift for someone and seeing them light up when they open it.  There are so many fantastic products out there for runners, and I wanted to share some that are on my Christmas list with you!

PRO Compression socks


This is my go-to brand of socks…whether I’m out and about running errands or I’m sweating it out at OTF or the open road, I always have a pair of PRO compression socks on.  Not only are they great for your feet both during workouts and for recovery, they also have super fun colors and designs!  I’m loving the December Sock of the Month – they will be perfect for those holiday runs and workouts!  Unfortunately these sold out in about 3 hours!  Make sure to subscribe to their emails so that you won’t miss out on the next “Sock of the Month”

http://www.procompression.com

Sparkly Soul headbands

These are so fun, versatile, and go with ANYTHING in your closet.  I love them because, for me, they actually stay on my head and don’t move during my workouts.  They have no piece of black elastic in the back either.  They’re always coming out with new designs and colors, and the ladies who run Sparkly Soul are AWESOME!  They truly love what they do and you can definitely tell.  What girl doesn’t need a little more sparkle in her life?  Oh…and they were named as “The Best Stocking Stuffers of the Season” in Women’s Running magazine!  Now how can you argue with that?

http://www.sparklysoul.com

InknBurn








If you love standing out during races and wearing something unique, InknBurn is the answer!  They come out with such beautiful pieces of clothing, ranging from bottoms that look like denim to shirts that look like a holiday sweater – they have something for everyone.  Not sure what the recipient might like?  Get them a gift card and let them pick it out themselves!  They have camisoles, tees, tanks, long sleeves, shorts, capris, and pants/tights to choose from.  All made in the USA by a small company of less than 20 people.  The quality and art you’ll find here is hard to beat!

http://www.inknburn.com

RoadID












 I absolutely love my RoadID.  I actually wear mine everyday and not just when I run or work out.  If you’ve never heard of the company, they make identification both for your wrist as well as one you can wear on your shoe.  You put any vital information on them so that in case of an emergency where you’re unresponsive, the people caring for you are able to contact your loved ones.  I know I’m guilty of not always filling out the form on the back of my race bibs, so having this guy on my wrist is not a bad idea.  They also have a service you can pay extra for that has a number to call that gives any allergies or other vital medical information. 

http://www.roadid.com

A Race Entry












 If you know of a race that someone wants to run, a race entry could be the PERFECT gift!  Back at Christmas 2013, the hubby gifted me the 2014 Wine and Dine half marathon weekend, complete with airfare, hotel, race entry, and park tickets!  Now, yours doesn’t have to be as elaborate as that, but it could be a great idea…maybe find a race that you can run with them!

Those are just a few things on my Christmas list…please feel free to leave any additional suggestions in the comments….I would love to see them and maybe even learn of a new product to try out!

Until next time,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Esprit de She Atlanta 5k recap

I have had the privilege of serving as an ambassador for the Esprit de She Atlanta race since it first came to Atlanta in 2013.  That year it was chilly and SUPER windy!  In 2014, I was unable to run as I was at Walt Disney World for the Wine and Dine half marathon.  But in 2015 I was ready to run again!

The awesome people at Lifetime and Gildan sure did know how to treat the ambassadors.  A couple of months before the race, I got a surprise pink package stuffed with shirts, socks, a hoodie, water bottle, and other goodies from Gildan!



Race day came and I wasn’t feeling super confident.  The weather was a little dreary but luckily, it ended up being a great night!  I recruited one of my OTF friends, Kimberly, to run the race “with” me (she’s faster than I, so we started together and she waited for me at the finish).


We arrived with time to spare before the race, so we checked out all the pre-race areas – they sure know how to make a girl feel special!  There was a “marketplace” full of vendors…Gildan, Girls on the Run, Aspire Beverage, Yoplait, Sunset Grown, and a beauty bar where you could get a mini massage, a manicure, and/or your hair done for the race!

They also provided a super easy and convenient bag drop off inside the Southwest Porch at the Park Tavern, which was great as it was nice to have something a little warm to put on after the race was over!

I got the opportunity to meet Abby, the National Brand manager and one of our ambassador contacts for the Esprit de She race series!  It was great talking to her and hearing her passion for the race as well as to hear inspirational stories of women who had participated in their various events throughout the year across the country.




Before we knew it, it was time for the race to begin!  Esprit de She brought in a very entertaining Zumba instructor to lead us in a warm-up.  I most certainly do NOT have the moves he does, but I had fun attempting them :)




After warm up was done, we lined up in the corral.  There were a lot of women who were running their first 5k!  It’s such a great first step and a huge accomplishment.  I remember running my first one and am thankful for taking that step in life.
















Soon, we were off!  The course was fairly well lit…there were a few dark spots but I just slowed down when I felt like I needed to…my biggest fear was slipping on wet leaves as it had rained the entire day before.  I stuck with my intervals and felt great during the whole race.  The course winds through Piedmont Park with very little incline.  It’s mostly on a paved road/trail but there is a small part of it on a gravel/dirt trail.
I kept going back and forth with a woman in front of me and made it my goal to finish before her.  As I approached the finish line I kicked it up a notch and managed to pull ahead!



After crossing the finish line I went to turn off my GPS and noticed my time…could it be?  Did I just PR?  WOW!



Considering the conditions I was crazy proud of myself!  It was the 2nd time I’d PRed the 5k in 3 weeks!  This called for a celebration, so Kimberly and I headed into the Southwest Porch to grab some food, take some pictures and redeem our free drink from the bubbly bar.




We also walked around a little more and checked out some of the awesome vendors they had.  Those tomatoes were AMAZING!  They also had a pizza but we missed out on trying a slice of that.  Oh well!  I highly recommend checking out Aspire Beverages…it’s a sports drink with much less sugar than Gatorade or Powerade…I loved it and will be getting some of my own soon!


 

We had a great time at this year’s Esprit de She Atlanta 5k/10k race!  It’s a great event to get a bunch of your best running friends together, run a race, and party it up afterward!

Next year’s race will be on Thursday, November 3rd, at Piedmont Park again.  Mark it on your calendars and sign up today!  Use my referral code “EDS015” too for $5 off any registration in the United States!


Thanks for another great race, Esprit de She…see ya again next year!


Until next time,