Under Armour Visit Part 4: My Yoga Attempt

Hey guys! Be sure to catch up on parts one, two, and three of my trip before reading today’s post!

We left off with our amazing dinner out in Baltimore before heading to bed. We woke up bright and early for another jam packed day of fun, starting with some rooftop yoga.

better than yesterday

Now, if you know anything about me, you know just how inflexible I am. it amazes people that I can’t touch my toes. Thanks to scoliosis, I can’t bend certain ways, and much to the disappointment of my chiropractor, my hips are all out of whack and super tight. This makes yoga very difficult for Heather. Heather was a little scared going into yoga with all of these awesome ladies who do yoga regularly. Oh boy.

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First, let me back up. When we got out to the pool area, we saw this gorgeous view.

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There was a pool attendant who told us to go up the outdoor flight of stairs for yoga, and we saw more breath taking views.

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There were yoga mats and towels (which are awesome by the way) laying out for us.

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We met the lovely Camille who would be teaching our class that day. She was so cute and sweet and wasn’t too hard on me for being a total noob. Smile




Ah, yes Camille, it IS funny that I am that inflexible.








It was a great class in the most gorgeous location, and I was sore for DAYS after! The class was really hard for me, but I stuck it out, and am #BetterThanYesterday because of it. Super proud of myself!



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We were in a time crunch, so we hurried down to breakfast at the restaurant in the Four Seasons. It was heavenly. I had an omelet, bacon, and some fruit. So delicious. However, we had to eat fast because we were running behind for our spa appointments! That’s right, we were all getting massages!

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I had the most amazing massage, and since I was already sore from our insane workout the day before, it felt wonderful and was such an amazing treat! I wish we had more time to explore the spa area, but we had to shower and pack up our things and get back to UA Headquarters. Maybe next time!

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We headed back to Headquarters where lunch was waiting.

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We had the privilege of meeting with some other teams and departments, and it was so much fun when they asked for our input on products and ideas. I love how willing they were to listen to us and ask for our advice. Before I knew it, it was 3:00 and time for my car to take me back to the airport, and I had to say goodbye to these lovely ladies.

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Oh how I wish I would have gotten to spend more time with this one, the amazingly hard worked who made all of this possible for us FitFluential gals. Jami is such a pleasure to be around, and is so sweet and accommodating. She wanted everything to be so perfect for us, and it was just that! UA is so lucky to have her!

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Look out for a post coming late next week about my thoughts and takeaways from this experience. I still have so much to share!

QOTD: Do you ever try a class you don’t do often and step out of your comfort zone? Are you as inflexible as I am?

Again, huge thanks to Matt Ryb for the awesome pictures from our yoga sesh, they are beautiful, even if I look super awkward in them!

Yoga Nidra

Hi! I’m Jess from gorunjess.com. I’m currently training for my first marathon on May 19th, 2013 and blogging along the way. Training for a marathon has been challenging work, both physically and mentally. Workouts can go well, workouts can occasionally go poorly. Mentally, I often suffer from what I call “hamster brain” which is my inability to hop off the wheel at the end of the day and relax. During training, I’ve struggled with worrying over injuries and whether or not I’ll be ready for the 26.2 miles on race day. I’ve used yoga as a means of cross training, and also as a means of relaxing my often over-stimulated mind. I’d like to share a unique aspect of my marathon training that might be helpful, especially if you have ever been hit with anxiety or stress, whether from training or just every day life.


Three years ago, while taking a yoga class at my local YMCA, I was introduced to the practice of Yoga Nidra or “yogic sleep.” My yoga instructor had us all lay in “shavasana” or the “corpse pose,” aka, lying down with your back flat on the floor. In a calming tone of voice, she led our class through a guided meditation where we first focused on deep breathing and then took our attention to one point of our body. With her directions, our attention shifted in a circular path along our bodies, perhaps first starting with our left big toe and then working up the foot to the leg, arm, wrist, hand, etc. My first few attempts at Yoga Nidra put me to sleep, a typical reaction to a soothing voice asking you to focus quietly. But, a few weeks in to the class, I experienced a relaxed state where I was still conscious, but calm and focused on the instructor’s words. At one point I was so excited, I wanted to yell “I got it!” but, yelling in the middle of a yoga class probably wouldn’t have been a good idea! I returned to class and continued to enjoy this practice, even on the nights when my focus failed and I fell asleep. My heart rate seemed to slow, my “hamster brain” seemed to stop spinning and I felt calm and relaxed when I left class each week. I’m not alone in my results. A quick internet search shows that Yoga Nidra has been found to be a good stress reliever and has even been used in patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I’m no longer taking yoga in a formal setting, but I still love using the meditations I’ve learned to help me relax and unwind, especially before a race or the night before a long run. With the help of technology, I’ve discovered a variety of Yoga Nidra resources on line, and I’ve even introduced my two children to the practice, giving them CDs they can listen to on nights that they are unable to fall asleep. If you own a smartphone or an Ipod, there are apps and podcasts available for free or minimal costs. All you need at home is a quiet place to lie down and 15 minutes of time to give it a try!


Happy running all! If you have questions, I’d love to hear from you. Stop by gorunnjess.com and leave me a note. And thank you to Heather for letting me share my ideas with all of her readers!

QOTD: What is your favorite kind of yoga?

Yoga + Running

Hi Everyone! I’m excited to be over here hanging out at Running with Sass today while Heather is in Florida for the Princess Half Marathon (although I am totally jealous and wish I was there!).

Today I wanted to share with you a little bit about my love for yoga and how it’s really benefited my running.

I ran my first marathon a little over a year ago after just 8 months of running. I didn’t know much about running, training or incorporating cross training into my program at all, I basically downloaded the recommended training plan, put on some sneakers and ran with nothing more than the goal of finishing 26.2 miles.

My training went great…up to 16 miles. That’s when everything would start to fall apart. As soon as I got over 16 miles it felt like someone was stabbing me in the butt (which I later learned was a muscle called the piriformis) and every step felt like I was landing on broken glass. I even called my husband towards the end of my 20 mile run crying telling him I didn’t think I could do this and I didn’t even want to go to the race, I was in too much pain and I’d rather not go than not finish.

Well, I DID go, and I DID finish. My feet hurt and I was sore for days, but I knew the second I crossed the finish line that despite the pain, it wasn’t my last marathon.

Marathon Finish

Fall of 2012 brought a lot of changes for me, I left my job to go back to school, I was starting yoga teacher training and it was time to start training for not only my 2nd marathon, but this time I was taking on the Walt Disney World Goofy Race and a Half Challenge (that’s the half marathon Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday, and just for fun I threw in the 5k on Friday!).

I worried about the long runs after what I had experienced last year, and this time I had to do back-to-back long runs to be ready to run a half and full marathon on back-to-back days. AND on top of that, I was really concerned about the effect that 3-4 vinyasa yoga classes a week would have on my running…would my legs be too tired? Would they be sore after a hard class? Would I have the time to fit in the yoga AND my runs??

Well, by the time I crossed my last finish line of Marathon Weekend I was without a doubt convinced that my yoga teacher training and Goofy Challenge training overlapping was the best thing that could have happened!

I’ll plead my case with a few specific things that really demonstrate the amazing effect that yoga had on my running:

1) My Massage Therapist – I LOVE getting massages (it’s totally my guilty pleasure!). Last year during marathon training my massage therapist was fantastic at really working out my legs and targeting that piriformis muscle that was always tight. This year I went for a massage a few days after one of my 18 mile runs and he actually asked me if I was still running! He said that my leg muscles were so loose he assumed I had stopped!

2) Pigeon Pose – I have a love/ hate relationship with pigeon pose. I used to dread when we got to it in yoga, it was awkward and uncomfortable and I was convinced human legs and hips shouldn’t be contorted into that position (and that’s coming from a very flexible person!). I always used a block to prop my hip up because there was no way I was getting any deeper into the pose…but little by little as my training went on I noticed it wasn’t so uncomfortable any more…and then one day I swapped out the block for a blanket…and then a few weeks later I went from the blanket to my hip coming all the way down to the floor! Guess what muscle that pose targets?!?! Piriformis! It was amazing to actually be able to see the progression of it loosening up! Now no yoga practice feels complete without pigeon!

Pigeon Pose 1

3) When it came time for my 20 mile run this year I mentally prepared myself for the pain, I knew what was coming and I was ready for it. I got past 16 miles and waited for the pain to come…but it didn’t! I got to 18, 19, 20…got to my house and kept going! This time I called my husband and happily told him I’d be a little later than he was expecting, I was going to do a few extra miles!

As I ran those extra miles I began to think about my training this time around and realized that I really hadn’t been experiencing the same aches, pains and soreness I had last year. My foam roller wasn’t getting used quite as much (although it still did get a lot of love!), I didn’t carry around a golf ball to roll the arches of my feet on, and my body didn’t need as many rest days after my long runs. The difference? All the yoga I had been doing!

I finished the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge feeling great and not experiencing any soreness at all!

Goofy Medal Pic Danielle

I even stopped and did some pushups with the green army guys at mile 21!

Marathon Pushups

Because of my experience, I am a true believer of the benefits of yoga for runners and love to be able to share them with others now that I am a certified yoga instructor!


Thanks Danielle! Danielle blogs at Live Run Grow, be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!

QOTD: If you run do you find yoga helps you? Even if you aren’t a runner do you like yoga?

RWS Features #46


Happy Weekend! I hope you all get to enjoy the long weekend and don’t have to work too much! I am sure I will be working some on Monday but hopefully not on Tuesday. Any exciting New Year’s plans? LSU is playing in the Chic Fil A bowl so I can’t wait for that!

A fun announcement, I was chosen as one of Women’s Running Magazine’s Bloggers on the run for 2012! There were 12 chosen, and I am SO beyond flattered, humbled, and honored. I didn’t even know they were making a list, and the e mail I received last night was such a pleasant surprise, I can’t stop smiling! You can check out the article for yourself (link goes live 6 am EST) on their website. (You may remember I was chosen as a blogger on the run back in May)

Today I want to tell you about my friend Danielle from LiveRunGrow.com. I got to hang out with her some during Wine and Dine weekend and she is super sweet, and an awesome yogi. Be sure to check out her blog, can’t wait to see her again in Disney in January!


1.) How/Why did you start blogging?

I began blogging a little over a year ago shortly after I completed my first half marathon and was training for my first full to document my training and share my race experiences.  I also wanted to start working on some personal growth goals and figured a blog would be a great way to hold myself accountable!


2.) Sum up your blog in a couple sentences:

Up until now Live, Run, Grow has primarily been very running and training focused, but starting this January I’ll be going back to school full time (for 5 years!) for Physical Therapy and I’ll be sharing that experience on the blog as well.  Since I just completed my yoga teacher certification I also love to share yoga poses and tips for runners and athletes.


3.)What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging?

My two main goals in blogging are to use it as a tool to help keep myself on track during my 5 year journey in going back to school and to document my training and races to be able to look back on.  If my experiences can help and encourage others along the way then even better!

4.)What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment?

I would have to say that my biggest health living accomplishment is completing my first half marathon (my first race ever!).  Before I began training for that race I probably couldn’t even run a mile, but it was something I decided to do in memory of a friend who lost her battle with Leukemia and keeping her in mind really helped carry me through my training.  At the time I thought the race would be a “one and done”, but this January the Goofy Challenge will be my 5th half and 2nd full marathon!


5.) What is your blog URL and twitter handle

You can find me at www.LiveRunGrow.com or follow me on Twitter at @dnardi710

QOTD: Did you go back to school once you were already out like Danielle is doing? Share!

There’s More to Running than Running…


Hey there! If you don’t know me – and let’s face it – I’m relatively new to this blogging thing so you probably don’t yet :).  I’m Alyssa from FunFitFashionable, a Pennsylvania native interested in everything health and fitness related, and living an all around healthy and balanced life.  Running with Sass has been awesome enough to let me guest post for her today.

I felt inspired to share the importance of strength training and yoga during marathon and half marathon training for all of you runners out there.

I recently ran my first half marathon based off of a training plan which did include both, but as many running newbies do, I undermined their importance in my mileage.

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Through a few of my longer runs upon getting closer to the half marathon, I noticed some aches and pains throughout my neck as well as my left knee, and they didn’t disappear completely on race day either.  The first 10 miles were smooth, but my knee gave out for the last 3.1 miles.

If there was more of a focus on strengthening the muscles supporting my knees, especially during those final weeks, I guarantee I would have had a better turnout.  Sometimes runners get so caught up with the joy and release of running, that we forget how important strong muscles throughout the rest of our body are in maintaining our endurance.


Strength training isn’t only necessary for the lower body when running, but also for the upper body. Think about it.  Strong abs help us to have a strong back, which can only help us stand tall and breathe more efficiently during runs.

That being said, I have my next half marathon in 3 weeks!  I will be doing the Runner’s World Half Marathon, and The last few weeks I have greatly focused on much more strength training so as to not re-injure my knee.  Hopefully this time will go smoother, but I’m glad to be able to have knowledge from my first half to apply to the future, and of course to share with other runners!





QOTD: Do you strength train and do yoga as a runner? Do you think it helps?

My Fitness Bucket List


You hear a lot of people talking about bucket lists. They may include things like skydiving, visit a certain country, learn a foreign language, or take a painting class. My bucket list seems to revolve around a lot of fitness related activities, so why not have one JUST for health and fitness? So I thought I would share with you a few of the items on my fitness bucket list. You can check out my full list on my #Fitfluential Fitness bucket list Pinterest board. In no particular order….


1.) Run the Tower of Terror ten miler or the tinkerbell half marathon in Disneyland. These are the only two runDisney races I have not run (aside from the expedition Everest challenge) and I have heard great things about tink…and the ToT 10 miler just looks SO fun!



2.) Run the Hood to Coast Relay. Ever since last year when I reviewed the movie, I have wanted to do this race. Them, after competing in the Rouge Orleans Ultra relay, I REALLY wanted to run!



3.) Paddle board or surf in a beautiful location. I kind of fear learning to do something like this, but would love to get over it and do it! Being in a beautiful location would make it a bit more enticing.



4.) Train with Bob Harper. I have loved the Biggest Loser since day one, and really like his approach to health and fitness! Meeting him or training with him would be awesome.



5.) Go to a yoga/spa retreat center. A nice long weekend of relaxation and fitness in a beautiful setting like you see on the movies sounds absolutely wonderful and rejuvenating!


I am adding to my bucket list all the time so be sure to check my Pinterest board often!

QOTD: What is on your fitness bucket list?

*Don’t forget to enter to win a $500 Under Armour gift card as part of the What’s beautiful challenge!

Off Season Plan


A few days ago, I talked about lacking off season motivation for the summer heat that has already hit down south. I got a few good suggestions from you all, and you seemed to like the vague ideas I gave. Be sure to check out the comments for a few great idea from some RWS readers! I have had some time to think over a more specific plan so this is what I have come up with.


I plan to scale back from 4 days a week (what I typically do when training) to 3 days a week. This will include: 1 easy run, 1 “getting longer” run (no more than 6-7 mile until August) and one interval/speedy run. I have a goal in mind, so my plan for my interval runs is to run at my goal time and keep adding mileage (at my goal pace). I know this will take awhile, but hey, I have over 5 months!



I plan to continue to go to my once weekly class, and also add in at least one other day when I do some good yoga/stretching on my own. I get injured less when I am doing yoga, so I definitely don’t want this one to slide, even though it would be easy to not do this one.


I have consistently been lifting for five months now, but haven’t upped the weights as much as I should be. My plan is to start lifting heavier and putting a little more effort into trouble zones like my abs and also work on my leg strength for running

Cross Training:

Since I will only be running three days, I plan to up the cross training and try to do a variety of things. I will still do the elliptical and stationary bike, but I also want to play volleyball, walk the dogs, swim in the neighborhood/YMCA pool, throw the Frisbee, do workout DVD’s, etc. I want to really try some things I don’t normally do to work different muscles.


So, that’s my loose plan friends. For the QOTD: I would love to know your thoughts

Weekly Recap: April Week 1


Happy Easter! I hope everyone has a beautiful day. Easter is so important to me and to my family, it’s about so much more than bunnies and chocolate to us. Jesus who died on the cross for our sins is risen from the dead, and it is a joyful holiday indeed! Today, we are off to church and then lunch by ourselves at our house. Not a lot planned for today, just some relaxing and spending time at home just us and the pups. Fine by me!

The past couple years we have gone to my parents house and had a big Easter lunch.



This week was much better than last week in terms of exercising. After my lackluster week, I really wanted to do well this week, and while I am still not where I want to be, it is definitely an improvement over last week!

Sunday: 10 mile run with Bobby (ssoo hot and miserable!)

Monday: chest, tri’s, abs

Tuesday: 4 mile run (39 minutes) bi’s, back, legs

Wednesday: 1 hour 15 minutes yoga class

Thursday: 3 mile easy run (32 minutes), chest, tri’s, abs, legs

Friday: rest

Saturday:  6 mile run (one hour) yard work 1 hour



miles run: 23

yoga: 1 class

weights: x’s 3

cross training: yard work!

My half marathon is a week from tomorrow and I am getting nervous about the heat. We shall see! Off to enjoy the day. I may have some photos of us dying eggs to show you this week. Have a great day!

QOTD: What are you doing for Easter?

Weekly Recap: March Week 3


Hi friends. This weekend has been fun and so beautiful so far. Yesterday morning we ran the St. Patrick’s Day 5k and well….It will get it’s own recap probably tomorrow, let’s just say that. Anyway, after the race we came home and Bobby worked in the yard while I did some cleaning and laundry. We also spend a good deal of time sitting on the front porch chatting. It was blissful.


Today is church and Bobby has to do some work, and I get to start packing! That’s right folks, I am going out of town again soon. Didn’t I just get home?!? has it already been almost a month since Princess?!?

Here is a run down of this past week’s workouts for you:

Sunday: rest

Monday: 10 minutes elliptical and upper body weights. Was supposed to go to yoga but my back was still hurting pretty good from falling down the stairs.

Tuesday: ran 3 miles, did upper body weights, and 20 minutes elliptical

Wednesday: one hour yoga class, upper body and leg weights

Thursday: Ran 3 miles, upper body and ab’s workout

Friday: rest (for the 5k)

Saturday: St. Patrick’s day 5k


Running: 3 x’s for 9 miles. We were supposed to long run after the 5k but it was so hot we decided not to.

cross training: 2 x’s

weights: 4 x’s

yoga: 1 one hour class

My back is still bothering me a little, but I will hopefully be ok for more yoga this week. I know I ran short distances this week, but I ran them at a fast pace, trying to work on my speed. I finally feel like I am leaning out a little and have dropped a pound or two (not that I was trying but I can definitely tell a difference in my arms and hips).

Sneak peek picture from the 5k:

2012-03-17 10.19.11

QOTD: How has the weather been this weekend where you live?

Weekly Recap February: Week 3


Happy weekend! This one has been great so far. We are still at my parents house having a great time. Today we are hosting a surprise 70th birthday party for my aunt and hopefully getting in a long run in the morning. I would really like to have time for 11 or 12 miles so we will see.

We watched movies and cleaned the house yesterday, and last night we ate pizza and watched the Endymion parade on TV. For those unfamiliar, it’s a HUGE Mardi Gras parade with 2600 riders and I think 24 or so floats. I would love to go to the ball one day, it always looks so amazing on television. Speaking of which, my parade recap should be up tomorrow, then Tuesday the next part of my Rouge Orleans recap.

Photos of the Girls on the Geaux running the Mississippi River levee during the Rouge-Orleans ultramarathon relay on Feb. 11-12, 2012.

Here is my workout recap from this past week.  It is more sparse than usual due to recovering from Rouge Orleans. With two half’s back to back coming up I knew I needed to take it easy this week.

Sunday: Ran 7 miles and biked 8.5 for the remaining legs of the Rouge Orleans ultra-marathon relay

Monday: rest (really, sleep!)

Tuesday: Valentine’s Day, more resting

Wednesday: upper body weights, 10 minutes elliptical, 1 hour yoga class

Thursday: ran 2 miles, upper body and ab weights

Friday: upper body, ab, and leg weights, 15 minutes elliptical.

Saturday: rest (was supposed to be long run but were under a tornado warning!)

miles run: 9
yoga taken: 1 one hour class
strength training: 3 days
cross training: 3 days


I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! We are headed back home this afternoon, then I have a couple days to pack and get ready for Princess! I cannot wait to share all the fun with you.


QOTD: If you could design your own Mardi Gras float what would it look like?