Monday, June 30, 2014

Medal Monday featuring Helly

Happy Medal Monday!  This week I am featuring Helly, who has been a runner since high school.  Her favorite medal is from her first marathon, which she completed this past March just seven months after having her 2nd baby!  She is a busy woman, somehow fitting in multiple races throughout the year while chasing around two toddlers.

Check out her blog to keep up with her busy life and race calendar: 
Follow her on Facebook:

Do you have a favorite medal that you would like to share?  Email me at for more information.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Medal Monday featuring Erin

Happy Monday!  For this week's Medal Monday, I am shining the spotlight on Erin.  Her favorite medal was earned at the Walt Disney World Marathon this past January.  It is her favorite medal to date because it was her 1st marathon, and she didn't think she would be able to it.  She conquered 26.2 "magical miles" and in the process, ran through all four Disney parks.

The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Dopey Challenge have already sold out and the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge is over 70% full!

Check Erin's blog:
Like her page on Facebook:

Have a great week everyone!

Want to be featured in a future Medal Monday post?  Email me at for more information.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Medal Monday featuring Michelle Thomas

Pictured below is Michelle Thomas with her favorite medal.  She earned this medal at the Ironman 70.3 in Augusta.  Although she says this was not her fastest time (she PR'd on Ironman 70.3 Kansas), this was her first Ironman event.  Michelle went from not really leading an active lifestyle to completing a Half-Ironman race after four months of training!  She has since completed three additional triathlons and a second Half-Ironman.  She is also currently training for her first FULL IRONMAN IN AUGUST in Louisville!  

Follow Michelle's journey to the finish line by checking out her blog at: 
Follow her on Facebook:

Want to be featured in a future Medal Monday post?  Email me at for more information.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week 1 of Fleet Feet's Ton of Fun Weight Loss Challenge and Giving Back

Ton of Fun Weight Loss Challenge
After the 5K last weekend I stopped by my local Fleet Feet in St. Charles to do my initial weigh-in for the Ton of Fun Weight Loss Challenge.  I am not sure if every Fleet Feet across the nation has this program, but I am SO excited that the St. Louis area stores offer it.  The summer edition of this challenge is 10 weeks long, and you must complete at least seven weekly weigh ins to be eligible for prizes.  You pay $50 to enter the challenge but you can earn the $50 back as a Fleet Feet gift card.  I pasted the prize structure below:

  • Complete 7 weekly weigh-ins AND lose 2% of your body weight by Sunday, August 3rd (for example, a 200 pound person losing 4 pounds) and receive a $25 FLEET FEET gift card.
  • Complete 7 weekly weigh-ins AND lose 5% of your body weight by Sunday, August 3rd (for example, a 200 pound person losing 10 pounds) and receive a $50 FLEET FEET gift card.
Plus, receive graduated prizes when you qualify for one of our Race Clubs! The more you lose, the more you win!
  • 5K Club (3.1 lbs weight loss)
  • 10K Club (6.2 lbs weight loss)
  • Half Marathon Club (13.1 lbs weight loss)
  • Marathon Club (26.2 or more lbs weight loss)
My goal was to at least earn my $50 back and to see my name listed in at least the 5K Club.  I have had my eye on a cute Fleet Feet running tanktop for several months now and I would use the $50 gift card to purchase that as a reward to myself.  

Week 1 went really well.  Tuesday evening I tried a new boot camp that left me sore. Wednesday morning was my usual Insanity class and Wednesday evenings I have been taking a different boot camp with another trainer that I like.  That boot camp does not start until 8 p.m. so I killed time by using the elliptical and bike and then walking.  Wednesday was a LONG day! Thursday evening it rained, so our walking club was inside a mall but I still managed to get two miles in.  Friday night we had a make up boot camp session.  Saturday I was still sore, so I took the day off but I went into my Fleet Feet for my 1st weigh in.  I guess working out and eating healthy pays off because I lost five pounds this week!!!!!  I know a lot of that was probably water weight, but I was so excited about getting off to a great start.  The weight loss was so motivating that I ate healthy meals on Saturday too, which I normally wouldn't, and I saved my cheat meal for the Cardinals game today.  We had seats in an all-inclusive area, so it was quite the cheat but I didn't over-indulge like I would have prior to starting the Ton of Fun Challenge.

Giving Back to the Running Community
This morning the boyfriend and I volunteered at medal distribution of the GO! St. Louis All-American 5K.  From the title of my blog you can tell that I love race medals, but being able to be the person giving the medal to the runners at the finish line was ironically so rewarding.  Whether you are a runner yourself, a supporter/cheerleader of a runner wanting something to do to kill time while your runner is on the course or someone that loves to volunteer but hates to run, I recommend volunteering at a race at least once in your life.  You will likely have a great experience and leave with the desire to volunteer again.
All-American 5K Finish Line

The medals

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Creve Coeur Heart to Heart 5K

Yesterday the boyfriend and I ran the Creve Coeur Heart to Heart 5K in Creve Coeur, MO.  This race also included a 10K route and a Family Fun Run.  The races began at 8 a.m. and packet pick-up began at 6:45 a.m. and ran until 7:45 a.m.  Parking was right across the street from the government center, which was where the packet pick-up and start/finish line were located.  For $35 you received a nice tech t-shirt with the logo below on the front, a medal, and post-race refreshments and entertainment.

Around 7:30 a.m. a personal trainer led us through a series of stretches to get us warmed up.  The National Anthem came shortly after, followed by race announcements, and then the 10K started right at 8:00 a.m.  We started the 5K around 8:05 a.m.  The course started uphill from the government center to Olive Boulevard, and then winded us through several other quaint neighborhoods in Creve Coeur.

The boyfriend had set a goal of finishing in under 50 minutes, which I thought was doable since we would be running and walking in quarter mile intervals.  This was his first 5K, and I wanted to make sure that he enjoyed it enough to want to run more.  I know what you may be thinking, but I did not pressure him into taking up running.  He set a New Year's Resolution of running a 5K in 2014.  Now maybe he saw how my family plans most of their vacations around races and how we frequently go to magical places like Disney World, but I was completely fine with him not being a runner himself and just supporting me at a race every once in a while.  But he set this goal, so I provided him a list of upcoming races to choose from.  The timing of this race was perfect and we may move to Creve Coeur in 2015, so this race was perfect for it included a tech t-shirt and a medal for a VERY reasonable price.

Since we were running and walking in intervals, we tended to see the same runners throughout the duration of the race.  One woman we came across was race walking, and she ended up becoming our on-course cheerleader.  We started ahead of her and then she ended up passing us.  She said something like: "Come on guys.  You are a lot younger than me.  You better finish before me."  So when it was our time to run, we would pass her and she would cheer us on.  Then we would walk again and she was super speedy with her speed walking, so she would pass us again.  Every time we passed her she would cheer us on and every time she would pass us, she would remind us that we were younger than her and encourage us to pick up the pace.  At one point, she was near us when we passed her house and she said that she was used to the hills on the course, but that they were still pretty challenging.  In the end, we finished slightly before she did and we finished 10 minuted under his original goal time!

Refreshments included oranges, bananas, bagels, and water.  Free massages and stretching were available as you heard the music playing in the background.  I think it was a great first 5K experience for my boyfriend and we managed to finish the race before the storms rolled in.  I can't reiterate enough that the race is a great deal: $35 gets you into the race, a nice tech t-shirt, a medal, and great post-race amenities.  I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to kick off their summer with a great race!

The boyfriend with our on-course cheerleader

It was someone else's first 5K yesterday too.  Congrats!!!

The medal
My cat wearing the medal.  She was impressed!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Katy 80 Mile Relay Race Recap

Last Saturday, May 31st I ran the Katy 80 Mile Relay with five other runners on team Rogue Runners.

The teams registered for the relay by mid-May

I have only run one other relay, the River to River Relay in Southern Illinois in 2011 with our Rogue Runners team captain.  I had mentioned to him several months ago that I was interested in running another relay in 2015.  He came across this relay and asked if I was interested, and knew of any other runners who would want to join our team.  I was hesitant about running a relay this year because I wanted more time to work on speed, but I was free on May 31st and it sounded fun.  I found a co-worker at the gym who was interested and he found the remaining three runners and before I knew it, we were registered.

Although the date of the race was open, I didn't take into account how busy the weeks leading up to the race would be.  I had been working a lot of hours between my full-time job at the non-profit and the part-time job at the gym and then I went to DC for five days.  My flight was late returning Tuesday night and the latter part of last week had something scheduled every night, so I had no time to really research and prepare for the relay before race day.  The other five team members met up for dinner Friday night, but my family and I had gotten tickets to the Cardinals game several months ago, so I didn't meet up with the team until 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning.  As I mentioned earlier, our team captain found the remaining three runners who I met for the first time race morning, then we all hopped into the SUV and headed towards the start line at the Black Walnut Trailhead on the Katy Trail.

Katy 80 Relay Map

To be perfectly honest, when I got back from DC Tuesday night and saw how busy the remainder of the week was going to be, I thought: "What did I get myself into?"  When the alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. Saturday morning I was tired, dead tired.  But I got ready, got an iced tea from McDonald's and met the team at the hotel.  The relay would be my last "big race" of the spring, and then I intended to run shorter races, join a weight loss challenge, and train hard throughout the summer for my fall races.  

On the way to the start line, my teammates told me that we were one of 22 teams in the inaugural year of this relay.  The race day weather forecast included a high in the 80's and a chance of thunderstorms, which meant the humidity would be HIGH.  May in the Midwest is rather unpredictable, so you tend to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  We had plenty of snacks, drinks, bug spray, and sunscreen packed and before we knew it, the time was 6:30 a.m. and our first runner took off.  The remaining five runners packed into the SUV and headed to the first exchange.  This was the pattern throughout the day: drive to the exchange, wait for one of our runners to complete their leg of the race (distances varied), cheer during the hand-off of the timing chip to the next runner (I brought my cowbell from the 2013 MO' Cowbell race), then drive to the next exchange to repeat the process.  Below are several pictures of the exchanges along the route.

Bike rentals along the trail

Augusta Brewery (where we eventually finished)

Vineyards along the route

The repetitive process of dropping one runner off, cheering on our incoming runner, and driving to the next exchange actually made the day fly by.  There were 18 legs and six runners so each runner ran three legs, but the total mileage varied.  Our team captain has run MANY relays so he has the math down to a science.  To keep your overall team pace low, your longest mileage should go to your faster runners so that it averages out the slower pace runners in the end.

Runner 1: 13.1 miles total
Runner 2: 13.7 miles total
Runner 3: 13.85 miles total
Runner 4: 12.15 miles total
Runner 5: 13.5 miles total
Runner 6 (Me): 11.7 miles total

Me handing off to Runner 1 who was lightning fast (he passed any team that had passed me during my leg)

I was runner six because I knew I would be the slowest.  So even though my average pace was SIGNIFICANTLY slower than our fastest runners, we ended the day with an overall team pace of 9:02 per mile, making us #2 in the Coed Open Division!

We're #2

On my last and longest leg of the race, I was actually sad that it was about the end.  It had been such an amazing day, and I loved the fact that I had only known two of the other five runners before the day started.  But after spending the day cheering each other on and sweating in an SUV together, you not only gel together as a team, but you also become friends.  I love running and as my blog name implies, I love running for medals. But even though this race ended with a pint glass rather than a medal, I would do it again and hope to have the same team for this race in 2015.  I was so worried up to this point about my average pace compared to my teammates paces, but in the end I contributed what I could to the team, and had a great time doing it. My teammates built me up and made me feel amazing!

Once we crossed the finish line we received our pint glass and beer coupon.  We had already received our food coupon at packet pick-up.  We had a "serious" team picture taken, followed by a team picture with props.  The race crew took these pictures, so I am anxiously awaiting those being posted, but below are a few of mine.

Beer coupon with Augusta Brewery in the background (where we redeem the coupon)
Using our pint glasses for champagne (L to R: Jess, Gordon, Haley, Tim, Me, Tim)

I think Augusta Brewery was happy to have us

Augusta Brewery as the day drew to a close

If you haven't run a relay, consider it.  If you can't stitch together your own team, check the relay's website or Facebook page because teams are always looking for individual runners.  Who cares if you don't know anyone else on the team!  You have an entire day (sometimes longer for Ragnar Relays) to get to know your teammates.  Then after the race, you have a new network of runners to participate in other races with.  If you don't want to run, volunteer.  The volunteers for this race varied in age, and it was great getting a few minutes to talk to them at the exchanges.  They sat in the middle of nowhere in the heat at the exchanges.  It takes a pretty awesome person to give a day to do that.  You could be that awesome.....

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Run or Dye and Memorial Day Weekend in DC

You can see in the About Me section, I used to live in DC and I started running because it seems like EVERYONE runs there.  So once a year, I try to schedule in a trip to visit my friends there.  This year I visited over Memorial Day Weekend.  When I arrived on Friday, my friend picked me up from the airport and we immediately went to Old Town Alexandria and had an amazing lunch at a Greek restaurant that I loved. I highly recommend it!

Later that afternoon we went to the packet pick-up for the Run or Dye race, which was taking place on Saturday at RFK Stadium.  In addition to our white cotton t-shirts, you also receive a color packet to use during the race, but my friend decided to invest in a few more color options.

Before color

At the Start Line

My friend's daughter getting colored blue
And our group after the race

The timing of this race was just PERFECT!  It was a fun race that I could participate in with my friend and her family and it got them into the city from the home in the suburbs.  Color runs are a great way for families to participate in an event together, so I would highly recommend trying one near you!

Towards the end of my weekend, I got a cooking lesson from my friend's husband who is a chef.  I wanted to learn how to properly prepare fish (since I love fish but tend to overcook it )and learn a few new recipes for soup.  When all was said and done, I learned how to purchase fresh fish, descale a fish, pinbone a fish, prepare a white fish in multiple ways (fish sticks, fish cakes, fish fillets), and cook a whole fish.  What you see below at the top is Cod and the 2nd plate is Rock Fish. 

The results of my fish cooking lesson

We also made three soups: carrot and ginger, tomato and tarragon, and cauliflower and curry.  For dessert we made honey lavender ice cream, as mentioned in the movie It's Complicated.

I LOVE ethnic food, so my friend and I also took advantage of a Groupon to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in DC, Meskerem, which is in Adams Morgan.   

If you are going in a group, I recommend ordering the meat or vegetarian platter so that you get to try several entrees.  You typically won't use silverware in an Ethiopian restaurant.  You pick up the food and eat it using the injera bread.

Meat and vegetarian dishes on injera bread
Injera bread

To counteract all of the eating I did, I also ran in my friend's neighborhood once or twice.  The 5-day weekend flew by and before I knew it, I was back in St. Louis but I look forward to my next visit in 2015!