Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday to my blog!

I can't believe that I have been blogging for a year now!  I wish I could go back and see the very first versions of my blog, which I am sure were crude and dull. But as I come across amazing blogs and test new template features, I constantly change and adapt the layout.

I started blogging last summer because all of my races were blurring together. I wanted a way to remember each race and its unique features.  I was writing the blog for myself with my mom being my only other reader.  As the year progressed, I slowly started coming across other runners and triathletes who blogged and I started improving my blog's layout as a result.  I started researching the blogging networks that they were involved in, and I picked a few to join myself.  It was when I became a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador that I realized I was entering this whole other world of social networking.  All of the bloggers also had a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc., etc., etc. for their blog.  I thought I was hip and trendy just for having a blog, but suddenly I felt behind the curve.  Within a week I created a Facebook page for my blog too.  What is great about social networking is that you help each other get more visibility by liking each others pages, sharing posts, and featuring other bloggers on your pages and in your blog.  It is so great to be connected to and supported virtually by other runners around the country and even the world!

At this point, I try to balance blogging with the rest of my life, which is always busy.  So many other bloggers post more frequently, have giveaways, and maintain every social media account possible for their blog, but that just isn't me.   I don't want to get burnt out because I am at the point where I enjoy my time blogging, but don't want it to take over my life.  I REALLY love promoting Midwestern races because I feel like we have a lot to offer here and I want to encourage runners from other parts of the country and the world to visit the Midwest for a race.  I also LOVE volunteering at races and want to promote that opportunity, since runners wouldn't even be able to complete the race without the volunteers.

In the right column of my blog as you scroll down, you will see the "Other Runners I chase" list.  These were the original running blogs I came across.  I learned so much from their blogs, through email and private message exchanges with them.  So although I frequently check multiple blogs and come across more and more each week, I have to give these blogs kudos for inspiring me.

As I look forward to what the next year holds for my blog, I can't really set any goals or even imagine what will happen by July 2015 because I never pictured my blog "going public" as it did this year.  I do look forward to continuing to network with other bloggers and hopefully have the opportunity to meet some of them face-to-face.

So if you are reading this post, thank you for reading my blog this year.  I wish you the best of luck in your running, walking, biking, hiking, volunteering, etc. adventures.  As far as running goes, if you don't think you can do it, let me assure you that if I can do it, you can do it too!  But even if running isn't for you, be active in whatever way suits your body and schedule.  Volunteer at a race if you get the chance, because it is just as rewarding as running the race.  You may not walk away with a medal for volunteering, but you walk away with a unique experience, hopefully a few "thank yous", and the knowledge that the runners couldn't be there without YOU!

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My first Virtual Half Marathon

As I have gotten more connected with other running blogs this year, I kept seeing people mentioning "virtual races."  The concept makes sense to me now, and don't laugh, but I honestly pictured people running in place as some sort of race via video game.  This is probably because we go to Cardinals games frequently and one of their giveaways is through the Lumiere Mile, where a selected fan runs in place for 45 seconds in order to try to run a virtual mile to the Lumiere Place Hotel and Casino.  As I learned more about virtual races, I still wasn't interested because part of the reason why I love running is because I love the race experience and the journey to the cheering crowd at the finish. But this year more than any other, has made me realize that running races is not a cheap hobby!

Recently I came across a virtual half marathon through U.S. Road Running called Movie Madness and I fell in love with the medal.  I ended up signing up for that race as well as the Pirate Half Marathon, because I also liked its medal.  For less than $20 each, I received a nice race medal and bib.  Each race had its own completion deadline and you just run the specified distance on your own time and in the location of your choice.  Once completed, you post your results to the race results page and you are done!  Virtual races are perfect for those on tight budgets, runners who want to fit another race in but can't find one that meets their availability, or runners who just don't have as many race options near them.  So although I LOVED paying less than $20 for a half marathon, I also found myself missing the other runners, course support, and crowd at the finish this morning.

Of the virtual half marathons that I signed up for, the Pirate Half Marathon had the earliest completion deadline.  The medal and bib have sat in my dresser drawer for several weeks, just waiting for me to earn them.  I was getting very close to the deadline and yesterday was brutally hot, so I decided to run it this morning.  I got started a little later than I had originally planned but I was on the Katy Trail by 8:30 a.m.  It was around 80 degrees when I started, and it just got hotter as the run continued.  It was definitely one of my slowest times, but I finished.  I wore my Garmin as I always do, but I really missed seeing mile marker signs along the way.  In addition to the heat, I really felt like I cared less about my time because I wasn't part of a crowd of runners even though runners and bikers were also present on the trail.

Overall I think virtual races are a great way to save money while still meeting that need to run a race, and they work well into your schedule because YOU pick the date, time, and location.  I will be running a few more virtual races this year because I want to test out different trails and parks in the St. Louis area. I am sure there are many other virtual racing companies, but I listed a few that I like below:
U.S. Road Running
I Run For...Virtual Half Marathon
Will Run For Bling
A Christmas Story 5K and 10K

Monday, July 21, 2014

Medal Monday featuring Kathryn

Happy Medal Monday!  Today I am shining the spotlight on Kathryn.  Her favorite medal is the 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon because it represents the hard work, persistence, and dedication required to complete a half marathon.  Although she has run other races of varying distances since the Disney World Half Marathon, finishing the half proved that she could accomplish whatever she put her mind to AND that you can complete something that you once thought was impossible.

Follow Kathryn as she continues her running journey:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Medal Monday featuring Lynna Do

Happy Medal Monday!  Today I am shining the spotlight on Lynna Do.  Her favorite medal is from the See Jane Run Half Marathon in Alameda, California in 2010.  This is her favorite medal because it was her 1st half marathon.

Follow Lynna on her running adventures by checking out her blog:
Follow her on Facebook:

Do you have a favorite medal?  Email me at for details.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Glow in the Park - St. Louis Race Recap

Tonight the boyfriend and I ran the Glow in the Park 5K at Queeny Park.  I purchased his entry for him as one of his birthday gifts, and we had been looking forward to the race all week!  We ate dinner before going to packet pick-up, which ran from 6:30 - 8:20 p.m.  At packet pick-up we received our gender-specific shirts, glow sticks, glow paint, a protein drink, and little lights that I saw most people put on their shoes.  Picking up our packet was a breeze.  The porta-potties were right in the parking lot and parking was literally right at the starting line.
Glow in the Park SWAG
 After we applied our glow paint and had our glow sticks ready, all we had to do was wait until the sun set.  Music was playing at the start line and the DJ played several songs that encouraged us to dance as a warm up.  This was a very family-friendly race and I saw a good mix of families with children, groups of young adults, and couples.

Paint applied, just waiting for the sun to set

We were released in waves since the 5K was actually two laps around the park.  The course was marked with glow foam sticks and it was very easy to navigate.  The first "station" included a black light area where volunteers sprayed you with water guns.  We passed through this station quickly, but it looked like there was something in the water to make it glow.  The next station was colored powder, followed by a foam station, another colored powder station, and another station with water guns.

Start Line 

After we made it around the course, we listened to music for a bit and made sure to take a picture in the black light tent. I enjoyed this race and it was apparent that the boyfriend did too!  The course was paved, had multiple hills with great views (especially with the full moon tonight), was well-managed (police were on site for assistance), and the looped course made it easier for the volunteers to manage the crowd.  This was my first glow run, so I didn't know what to expect, especially on the hottest day of the year so far but I definitely would recommend participating one.

Post race selfie
Glow in the Park will be coming to the following cities next:

  • Greenville, SC
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Owensboro, KY
  • Detroit, MI
  • Barboursville, WV
  • Augusta, GA

Monday, July 7, 2014

Medal Monday featuring Montana Ross

Happy Medal Monday!  Today I am shining the spotlight on Montana Ross, who blogs at Pretty Lil' Mudder.  Her favorite medal is from the Best Damn Race in Orlando, Florida.  It is her favorite medal because she set a PR and the medal also functions as a beer bottle opener, which makes it even more useful.

To follow Montana's future racing endeavors, check out her blog:
Foller her on Facebook:

To be featured with your favorite medal, email me at

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I would like to tell you about.....The Diva Dash 5K

My birthday is on a Wednesday in August this year, and if you are anything like me, a mid-week birthday means you find ways to celebrate the weekend before AND after the actual date of birth.  I recently came across the PERFECT 5K to run the weekend before my birthday.  It is called the Diva Dash 5K and this is the first year it will be held in St. Louis.

Here is some information from their website:

The Diva Dash 5K Run/Walk is a women-only 5K run/walk in which the participants are treated like divas!
As a participant of the Diva Dash 5K, you will receive a women's cut tech shirt, a large finishers medal with detachable charm, top overall, masters overall, and age group awards, an aid station on the course, large mile markers, and great post race food and beverages!

All Lil' Princess Kids Run participants will receive a cotton shirt, tiara and a Lil' Princess medal! Be a part of the fun while supporting the great programs for girls provided by our charity partner, Girls on the Run!

The St. Louis race will be held on Saturday, August 9th in Forest Park.  Other upcoming locations include:
Nixa, Missouri
Des Moines, Iowa

Check out the locations page to see where the Diva Dash 5K will be next spring.

And this is the medal with the detachable charm.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Preparing for the fall racing season

You may remember a post or two ago, that I joined Fleet Feet's Ton of Fun Challenge.  After Week 3 I am in the 10K Club, which means I have lost 6.2+ pounds so far.  When I first attempted the Ton of Fun Challenge this winter I only lost a few pounds, got discouraged, and basically quit going to weigh-ins, so I am working hard to keep the weight loss going!

Speaking of Fleet Feet, I just picked up my new shoes!!!!  They will run be through Disneyland and many races this fall.  Back when I first started running in 2009, I went to Pacers Running Store in Arlington, VA and got fitted for running shoes.  Brooks Adrenaline was the shoe I was fitted with.  At the top of the picture below you can see a Brooks Adrenaline version 11.  They are dull when compared to other running shoes, yet they are functional and fit me perfectly.  I briefly switched to a different make and model of running shoe because I wanted something more fashionable, but function won and I switched back to Brooks Adrenaline. Version 13 got a little more colorful (middle shoe), yet they still weren't as fashionable as other runners' shoes.  I had running shoe envy.  That all changed recently with the release of Brooks Adrenaline 14 (bottom  - amazingly cute shoe).  When I first saw them at Fleet Feet I accidentally let out a shriek of excitement because finally, the Adrenaline line was fashionable!  But when I went back to the same Fleet Feet several weeks later, the Adrenaline 14's on display were white mesh with pink detailing.  I asked the friendly staff why they no longer had the more colorful Adrenaline 14's and they said that the white and pink (or white and blue for previous versions) appeal more to the masses, BUT they could special order the more colorful ones for me.  So they ordered them for me last week and I picked them up tonight! Only runners know that sweet, sweet high you get when putting on a new pair of running shoes.  All that cushion and rubber just asking you to start putting miles on those shoes.  I can't wait to get those beauties on the trails!

Top to bottom: Functional (not fashionable), Functional (not fashionable), FINALLY FABULOUS
To help me train better and more consistently for my fall races, I signed up for a free marathon training program through another local running store, Big River Running.  The first training run is Sunday, July 13th.  I am excited about meeting other local runners training for some of the same races and to be running in a group setting again.  We haven't received the schedule of mileage yet, just the schedule of meetup locations which gives us a great overview of local parks and trails.  I am so excited to see what this fall will bring!