Passionate

 

You can tell when you are reading an article or blog written by a person passionate about their subject matter. The joy and excitement overflow onto the page, and is woven into each sentence or idea. Having a desire to share, motivate, and inspire is evident in their work, making each new story exciting to read.  It’s not just about writing, but about the fire that burns within the author, desiring to get their point across to help inform and share with others. Running With Sass is my baby, and I deeply enjoy sharing stories, tips, and motivation with my readers everyday. To be able to do so on an even larger scale would be a dream come true.

True, I am just an average girl, but that is part of my draw. I attract a lot of readers that are new runners, bloggers, and those just starting out on their fitness journey. I have received countless e-mails from readers thanking me for being real and honest, and for showing them that anyone can be fit and healthy.  They enjoy my message of not having to be the fastest, the strongest, or the best…but just striving to be the greatest version of themselves.

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Growing up, I played multiple sports, and even moved on to coaching after college. I have coached basketball at the middle school level, and volleyball at the high school varsity (6A) level. I am very knowledgeable of both sports, and fitness in general. Running is my most recent passion of three years, and I recently have added weight lifting and yoga to my always growing fitness practices.

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My job allows me to travel to several races throughout the year, so I believe having a fresh perspective on the health and fitness of different cities would be a great benefit to readers. Not only have I learned a lot working at health and fitness expos, but also in partnering with several companies to review and share their products.

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Other passions of mine include putting a stop to childhood obesity, and furthering cancer research. I shared my thoughts and experience in a vlog last month on the matter of childhood obesity. As a former teacher, it broke my heart to see so many children struggle with their weight and be bullied by other students.

Don’t forget about my 6 second “fail” that went along with the above vlog. Oops! At least I can laugh at myself, right? (I’m saying “fail” at the end of the video).

I also love social media, and spend a lot of time each day interacting on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, as well as several forums, message boards and other blogs. I have a large twitter following, and a fan page for my blog on Facebook as well as a personal Facebook page. Participating in Twitter chats and social media conversations is something I really enjoy. Meeting new people, reaching out and making friends is an encouragement and inspiration.

My mother is a stage three non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor. She is an amazing woman with a lot of fight, and a great inspiration to many. I have learned so much watching her, and as a family we have all taken steps towards a more healthy lifestyle to help prevent certain types of cancer. My husband and I ran a half marathon this fall with Team in Training benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. It was a great experience and I was thrilled to be a part of raising money for cancer research and treatment.

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In closing, I think the name of my blog says it all. Yes I run, and yes I try to live an active, healthy life…but I do it all with a touch of sass. Who says healthy living and fitness have to be boring and bland? Spicing up your fitness and health as well as your life in general, can help you to be a success story. I have faced obstacles, criticism, injuries, mental defeats, and trials. Through it all, my husband and I are dedicated to a healthy and fit lifestyle, against all odds.

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Below is a video I put together last summer documenting my healthy living journey. I hope you enjoy following along.

QOTD: What are you passionate about?

Making Friends

 

When you were a kid, you made friends at school or in your neighborhood by sharing a swing on the playground, or biding bikes down your street. Now that we are adults, we still need to interact and make friends. I don’t know about you, but I don’t swing all that much anymore, but one thing remains the same…sometimes you have to put yourselves out there to make friends.

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I have gotten a couple of e-mails from new-ish bloggers asking me how they can make more friends online. Some people feel like they aren’t in the “club” and want to know how to get “in.” First of all, as far as I know there isn’t a club, so good news! The reason why it seems some people are always talking to others more often, its because they are putting themselves out there. Everyone wants to be talked to, or else they wouldn’t be on social media sites, so take the first step and start talking! Where? I’m glad you asked!

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I realize a lot of this is old news to a some of you, but think back to what you knew about social media when you first started blogging…you probably didn’t know a whole lot. So let’s get some newer folks involved so they can continue on their journey to health!

Twitter: This is the biggie. This is where you will make the most connections and “talk” the most. (At least I do!) When I first got my twitter handle (@runningwithsass) I didn’t really understand how it worked. I had to do a lot of googling and just get out there and start tweeting. It was a little confusing at first as a Facebook only user, but I quickly caught on and now love it!

Pinterest: This is something I recently joined, and just like Twitter, I wasn’t sure how it “worked” but with a little research I figured it out and now it is the biggest time suck for me! You can “pin” photos, motivational quotes, blog content, etc. on a number of boards that you create and friend people so they can “follow” your boards. Find my pinterest profile here.

Stumble Upon: This is a good way to get exposure for your blog. You can friend people and see the sites that they “stumble” (like) and see who shares common interests with you, etc. It’s also a good way for you to find other sites and blogs that will help you make friends and learn more on your fitness and health journey. My profile here.

Facebook: This is definitely not a must, but I personally enjoy having a Facebook fan page for my blog. Fans can “like” my page and I post content on there like my workouts, blog posts, fitness questions, etc. It’s a great way to interact with other bloggers and my readers and get feedback. My running with sass fan page here.

LinkedIn: This is more of a professional connections site, but still a great way to meet and connect with people in your industry, location, etc. You can find connections and friend people on here as well. My profile here.

Daily mile: Daily mile is a place to keep track of your workouts, and it’s more than just running! You can track cross training, weight lifting, and a variety of other things. People on Daily Mile are great accountability partners, and it’s also a great way to track your workouts. There is even a phone app so you can add workouts on the go! My daily mile profile.

Healthy Living Blogs and FitFluential are two other GREAT places to meet people!

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Bottom line, if you wait around for people to talk to you, it may not happen. If it does happen, it will probably happen slowly. If you really want to make friends and be involved in social media, do just that GET INVOLVED! Join in twitter chats like #runchat or #fitblog. Retweet other people when you like what they say. Just like a lot of things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it. Blogging and social media are a lot of FUN. Blogger meet ups are great, and new friends are amazing. Dive in and see how encouraging and open healthy living bloggers can be!

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QOTD: What is a site I didn’t list that you use? What is your favorite way to make new friends online?

Things NOT to do as a Newbie Runner

 

I started my distance running journey three years ago, and to say I have learned a lot my be the understatement of the decade. As I have mentioned before, I sometimes take for granted all of the knowledge I have gained about the sport, and forget that I , too, once was a newbie and all of this info didn’t just transfer into my brain overnight by osmosis.

With that being said, I would like to save you from some embarrassment by giving you some tips on things NOT to do as a new runner. Please keep in mind these tips are my own personal opinion, so if you don’t agree, that’s ok (or maybe you just need to re-evaluate things haha).

Don’t stop moving at the water stops: No lie, this is the best. story. ever. Probably because it involves making fun of my husband, but yall I laugh to this day thinking about it. We ran our very very very first race spring of 2009. It was an 8k out and back. I am of course a long way back from Bobby, but I can see him up ahead. I watch as he gets to the water station at the turn around, gets a cup, stops dead in his tracks,  hand on hip, drinks the cup of water, throws the cup in the trash can, and then starts running again! I wanted to die I was laughing so hard. Later, when I approached him about this, he said “I was wondering why I was the only one stopping to drink water…I had no idea you were supposed to drink on the go and then throw the cup on the ground!” I die.

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however, it is ok to stop during a full marathon to slather biofreeze on you knee.

Don’t wear new clothes for the first time on race day: I know it’s tempting to buy a new outfit at the expo and show it off during the race, but please refrain. You could be chafed in places you didn’t know chaffed, end up running in a shirt that’s ill fitting, or shorts that ride up, or shoes that give you blisters. Save the new outfit for the next race after you have trained in it.

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Don’t eat new food the night before or morning of: Especially if you have a sensitive stomach. You don’t want to be barfing on the side of the road, or stuck in a port-o-potty at mile 1 because some unfamiliar food didn’t sit right with you. Practice eating what you want to eat on race morning when you are doing training runs.

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I like to eat pizza the night before a race

Don’t start out to fast: I admittedly still struggle with this one. I just get so darn excited at the beginning of a race, and I feel so good, I can’t help myself! I know it’s tempting to take off and stay with the lead pack, but don’t. It’s much better to finish strong then to start off too fast and have to crawl across the finish line, trust me.

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dying at the finish line

Don’t dress to warmly for cold weather: Once you start running, your body will warm up, and you may wish you hasn’t worn those gloves and that heavy sweatshirt you now have to tie around your waist. Yes it sucks getting out the door in the cold, but it will be better once you get started, and may make you run faster!

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Don’t run in place at a stoplight Ever see those people at crosswalks jogging in place waiting for the light to change, well, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s really not necessary. As long as the light isn’t some crazy length of time, you will be perfectly fine to just stand still while you wait for the light to change.

Don’t schedule too far of an out and back: Nothing will make you look more lame than setting out on an out and back run that is too far for you, and you lose all your steam before you get back home…and then you are stuck two miles from home and feeling like death. If you aren’t sure you can cover the distance, do two shorter out and back loops so if something does happen you won’t be as far from home.

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Don’t forget to plan a family meet up area: Let’s face it, some races are HUGE, and it can be tough to reunite with family and friends at the finish line, especially if you are about to pass out from your race. Have a pre determined meet up spot so you can easily reconnect and celebrate afterwards.

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and my biggest tip for newbies (which irks me the most)

Don’t wear the race shirt to run the race: Personal opinion, but I think it’s bad luck to wear a race shirt during the actual race, unless your luggage got lost, or your baby threw up on your other shirt, or something of that nature. The shirt is stating that you completed said race, so how can you wear it when you HAVEN’T finished it yet? I’m really not sure why but this one bugs me!

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My Centrum ProNutrients winner is KIM from Living Domestically! please e mail me with your shipping address and which ProNutrient product you would like.  congrats!

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Yesterday I ran 5 miles, did weights and 25 minutes elliptical. I’m coming back baby!

QOTD: What tip would you tell a newbie runner, something for them NOT to do?

Back to My Roots: Tips for Beginners

 

So, some of you may have seen this post on Twitter yesterday.

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Sigh. I was so ready for a nice, relaxing massage, and instead I spent an hour talking to someone who obviously knew NOTHING about running, but asking me a million questions. Was I annoyed? Heck yes! I paid money to relax! Not explain what a GPS watch is to you!

When I got home, I started doing some thinking. Was it wrong and very annoying what she did? Of course, BUT, at the same time, here was someone obviously very wowed by my running knowledge, eagerly wanting more info and tips. She actually jokingly (I think!) asked me to be her running coach. She also told me she would hate to see me kick someone as she was rubbing my calves. Is it weird that I took this as a major compliment by the way?

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Anyway, here I was thinking “how can she not know what a Garmin watch is?” and “is she seriously asking me how I am supposed to know how far I have run “are there like, marks in the road that tell you?” As I began to feel slightly proud and cocky, I was immediately put in my place when I remembered that there was once a time when I didn’t know the answers to those questions.

How silly of me to assume that everyone knows how to get rid of a side cramp, and how you know what kind of shoes you need. To the “normal” world, these are not common knowledge issues. I do so much reading and research every day, it has become so easy for me to forget that everyone has to start from somewhere, and learn as they go.

So, I have decided to go “back to my roots” shall we say, and go over some things I wish I knew in the beginning but didn’t know.

GPS Watch/Garmin: These handy watches are amazing and it is my favorite piece of gear. They work via satellite and track your distance, pace, time, elevation, etc. Then you can plug it up to your computer and download your info to have for a training log, comparisons, etc. There are also phone apps for this purpose as well.

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(wearing my Garmin)

GU/Chomps: When I first started running I had no need for this as I was just running 3-4 miles at a time. When I got up to six miles I realized I needed to start using something for fuel. I was scared to try GU, the consistency seemed nasty, but now they are my BFF and I love trying the different flavors. I can’t do the chomps (if I can help it) because they get stuck in my teeth. The GU is easy to “suck down” when I see a water stop up ahead.

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How to start training: If you are starting from scratch, I highly recommend the couch to 5k program. I have not done it myself but know people who have been very successful with it. We all start from somewhere, even if it’s your couch. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Sweat Wicking: You don’t want to run in cotton! It gets very heavy when you sweat and doesn’t feel good. Invest in some dri fit/sweat wicking workout clothes that wick moisture away from your body. I of course recommend running skirts for workout gear!

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Log your workouts: It can be dailymile.com., or writing workouts in a journal, but keep track of what you do, and how you felt. That way you can look back to see how far you have come, what conditions you run best in, time of day, etc.

Body Glide: go buy some. You will thank me later when you don’t have burns and rashes all over and your friends do.

Walk Breaks: are perfectly normal. I hate that there is a stigma that if you walk during a run or a race you aren’t really a runner. I have done some experiments, and I actually race FASTER when I take a 20 second walk break every 7  minutes or so after I hit mile 8 of a half marathon. True story. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you need to walk every now and then.

Rest: Being too ambitious in the beginning can get you burnt out or injured. Your body NEEDS rest days to recover and rebuild to make you stronger. Don’t forget to cross train as well. Build strength all over, and not just from running.

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These are by NO MEANS all the tips there are, these are just a few off the top of my head I wish I had know starting out (and some my masseuse asked me!) As always, if you have ANY specific questions, please feel free to comment here or e mail me at [email protected]. I love hearing from readers!

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Also wanted to add…I ran my FIST MILE since Thanksgiving Day today! It felt good! I took it slow, but ran the whole thing. I’m coming back! YAY!

QOTD: What is a running tip you wish you knew when you first started?

-Also of interest: This post I wrote on beginner running injuries.

The Dangers of Running

Most of you are probably going “huh? running is good for you? how is it dangerous?” Well, if you don’t run, I am here to tell you, be careful, it can be hazardous to your health! Let me give you some examples:
Dogs. yes dogs. We have a leash law in our neighborhood, but does that stop people from letting their dogs run amuck like crazy kids in a toy store? Of course not! Who follows the rules anyway!!! I am here to tell you, I am very observant when I run, and am always on the lookout, and searching for the closest car that I can potentially jump on the roof of. What is even more scary is when there are dogs inside of electric fences that you don’t know exist (the fence not the dog.) There is one particular house with such a fence, and a very large, scary, dog. One day, I was minding my own business, running on the sidewalk, and said dog comes sprinting out of nowhere, right towards me. As I went flying into the street, nearing peeing my pants, the dog suddenly stops dead in his tracks. This is when notice…the collar…UG. So i totally just freaked out for nothing. I was NOT amused.
Next danger is signs. I have the story of my best friend for this one. She was running one day, no one else was home, and she somehow managed to trip on a yard sign that was sticking out. She fell and cut up her hands and legs and broke a bone in her foot and had to hobble a long way back home on her poor broken foot since no one was home to come get her. Isn’t that sad? I am now very careful of stop signs, yard signs, and the like. I kind of like my feet and do not want to break them.
Third danger is the road itself. This story did not happen to my same friend but to someone she knows. A lady was out walking in the dark one morning, tripped on a part of the road, face planted, and had to get stitches in her face! WOW! I would not only feel stupid but ouch!!! Poor woman.
The dark reminds me of my next danger, well…the dark. This is hazardous for me more mentally than anything. I ama chicken. I do not like the dark. Therefore, I do not run alone in the dark. Creepy things live in the dark/woods! Talk about giving me nightmares! The physical dangers of dark are also very scary because if you are running on the road, in the dark, NOT wearing reflective gear (shame shame) you could very easily be hit by a not so fun thing, yes, a car.
The last thing I want to discuss is regional scary things. For instance, I was home for Christmas in Louisiana, running with my mom next to a swamp.Let me tell you, the entire run I kept my eyes on that watery mess just waiting for an alligator to jump out and eat me! Or a snake. Obviously a snake couldn’t eat me, but, you get the idea. I kept looking for things I could climb on if necessary. I have watched animal planet. I know how fast those things move! With that being said, what are some regional things that are dangers of running near you? I can think of some from other regions, but first want to see what others come up with before I list the ones I thought of.
On a side note, I think running is great, and the benefits largely outweigh the hazards, but I like to file things like this under the cabinet in my brain labeled “good to know” just in case that dog’s electric fence isn’t turned on….

SO running. I only ran 2 miles today. The wind was horrid and my nose was running so badly and I couldn’t breathe. awesome.
look at this pretty picture I took on my way to work. It was a gorgeous day, high of 61 and sunny!