XTERRA Trail Series MA #3 Hodges Hoedown 10k

Hey friends!! Happy Friday and cheers to a long weekend!!  So, I forgot that I owed you guys a race recap from my vacation, sorry!  As you know, I have been doing some trail racing recently.  I have my first two recaps from this XTERRA Trail race series of there here and here if you haven’t read them yet.  This was the final race in this series and was held on Saturday, August 16th.  So let’s get started!

I didn’t really prep my stuff too much the night before, I had an idea of what I wanted to wear and decided to be more relaxed about it.  My goals for this race were a bit different from the first two races, now that I knew how tough and technical these trails were.  My primary goal was to not stop or walk any portion of the course, something that was clearly not achieved in my first two races.  My second goal was not to “race” this race.  I realized after my last race that I really enjoy running trails, but I don’t necessarily love racing them if that makes sense.  I put a lot of pressure on myself when I race (which is why I don’t like to race much) and I wanted to rather treat this like a training run and be able to relax and enjoy it.  I think tempering my expectations and accepting I wouldn’t be running in the 7’s or 8’s on the trails is what I mentally needed to do heading into this race.

I was really glad this race was back to a normal time (8 a.m.) and not 11 a.m. like the last race.  I woke up at 6:30 a.m., relaxed and read a little bit of a book I’ve been engrossed in, ate a piece of homemade banana bread Robyn made the night before, got dressed and at 7:15 a.m. I headed to the race.  It was only a 10 minute drive which was nice.  I quickly found parking and as I was walking over to the registration booth, I noticed there was a Rock Tape booth, among others, that wasn’t present at any of the other races.  As many of you guys know, since the last trail race, my ankle has been on and off sore.  Nothing that prevents me from running, but nothing that is totally normal either.  Of course, when I woke up that morning, my ankle was pretty tender.  I walked over to the Rock Tape group and told them the problems I was having and they had a PT on hand to tape people up.  I have never used Rock Tape before but I figured, why not give it a try, plus they had tape in my favorite color 🙂  They taught me how to tape myself up given my issues and I walked away feeling a bit more confident that my ankle wouldn’t cause me too many issues at this race.

KT tape

After I got taped up, I got in line for my bib.  The line moved pretty quickly and once I got my bib, I ran back to my car to finish getting ready (applying sunscreen and bug spray and dropping off my phone, etc.)

my number

I made my way back to the starting line and waited.  This race had two distances, a half marathon and the 10k.  I was running the 10k so I waited off to the side while the race director made announcements, we sang the star spangled banner and then the half marathoners lined up.  The 10k racers were to start about 10 mins after the half runners, so we saw the half racers off and chatted and I got my Garmin triangulated and ready to go.  Once the air horn blew, we were off.  Immediately, one girl took off like a bat out of hell and left the rest of us in her dust.  She was flying and soon after she was totally out of sight.  I kept reminding myself that I was not to race this but rather set into a comfortable pace for the terrain and enjoy it.  The first mile felt good and I settled into a good rhythm.  I knew I was towards the front of the pack but I didn’t feel like I was pushing it hard.  This course overlapped with the last course so I won’t reiterate how technical the terrain was at times.

I focused on my breathing and made sure to watch my footfall.  Thankfully my ankle felt better than it had in a month and I stopped worrying so much about possibly twisting it or landing wrong.  There were a few hills early on and I kept repeating to myself, “Do not slow down or stop, what goes up must come down.”  I got through the hills and felt really great.  I passed the two mile marker and up ahead was the first aid station.  I stopped for about 20 seconds, grabbed a quick drink of Gatorade and was off again.  There was one guy I was pacing myself off of the entire time.  I always kept him in my sight and fell in step with him a few feet behind.  Fast forward to more hills and jumping over rocks and tree roots and the race was already half over.

I was still feeling really good and comfortable, something I did NOT feel at this point in either of the last two races.  I kept telling myself to relax into a comfortable pace and breath.  We went along until we hit the 4 mile mark and the last aid station for the 10k runners (and a photographer).


Again, I stopped for about 20 seconds, took a quick gulp of water, grabbed 5 Swedish fish to keep my mouth moist.  They had a great assortment of goodies for the runners, I didn’t see the gummy bears until I had already grabbed the Swedish fish, a total bummer since that is my most favorite candy on the planet…oh well.

I told myself I had about 2 miles left to go and to run this smart.  While tailing my new friend, we continued on our journey to the finish line.  We encountered more hills and I kept repeating my hill mantra and I made it up all the hills with no issues.  Before I knew it, mile 6 beeped on my Garmin and the end was nearing.  We had one final big hill to climb before coming out of the woods to head towards the finish line.  I came running out of the woods and headed towards the finish line (and another photographer that I didn’t see until I passed him!)


me end 1

I looked up and focused on the finish line.  I crossed and stopped my Garmin and a young boy handed me my medal.

my time

I looked down and was initially really disappointed with my time, but I quickly changed my perspective.  I was able to accomplish both of the goals that I set for myself for this race. The only time I stopped was for fuel and I did not have to stop or walk at any part on the race. I conquered all the hills and I felt really good the whole way through.  I had nothing to be disappointed about.

I walked over, grabbed some more to drink and thanked the guy that ran in front of me for pacing me.  He laughed and said he is the one who should be thanking me since I was the only thing that kept him going.  He said he could hear me on his heels the whole race and I kept him pushing through.  I love when runners inspire and motivate each other during races!  After we talked for a bit, we walked over the finish line to get an idea of placing.  At that point, I knew I came in 5th overall and was the 2nd female.  The girl who took off in the beginning of the race…well, she won the entire thing.  I wasn’t sure if she was in my age group, but my bet was that she was.

I had to get going because Robyn and Ashton were waiting for me at home to take off to NH.  I saw the race director to get the “big” medal for completing the series of races and I wrapped it up and headed home so I could shower and get on the road.


This medal is really big (bigger than my palm), the picture doesn’t do it justice.  At the end of each race, we got smaller medals that fit in their respective places in the top portion of this big medal.  The bottom is a bottle opener. I thought it was a really cool idea to have all the small medals locking into a bigger one.

Overall, this race experience was MUCH better than the last one in terms of directional signs, start times, etc.  The trails were very clearly labeled, there were volunteers all over the course to make sure we were going in the right direction and it went flawlessly.

Later that day we got the email with the final times and placements. I took SECOND place in the women’s open division (ages 20-39) and 5th place overall like the last race.





I had a feeling the girl who won the whole thing was in my age group.  I am in awe that she maintained a 7:16 pace for this race, but seriously, kudos to her!  I was just really happy that for the 3rd race in a row, I placed.  I think trail running is growing on me and there are a few events they hold in the late Fall I’d like to participate in if the timing works but I think I need to continue to temper my expectations when it comes to paces in trail races.

Well, that’s it folks.  I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend–spend time with family and friends, laugh, work out and eat good food!  I’ll see you all next week!


Question of the day

Do you ever treat races as regular runs?

Anyone racing this weekend?

My new favorite running accessory: The FlipBelt {Product Review}

Hi friends!  Today I am here to share with you some info and review a great product called FlipBelt.  As many of us runners and fitness enthusiasts know, sometimes you have to try a lot of different products to find what works for you.  I know personally, I have tried quite a few different products and methods to carry all my “necessities” when I head out for a run.  It’s pretty much ended up with me holding my phone (s) in one hand, my handheld water bottle in another and shoving my keys/id/gels into the super tiny pocket inside my favorite Nike shorts and into my bra.  It’s pretty cumbersome, but those are the sacrifices we make for the sport we love, right? Well, not anymore!!

FlipBelt created a sleek and stylish belt that carry all of your essentials without tying up your hands. Too good to be true?  Keep reading!


As you can see, the FlipBelt comes in a lot of great colors so there is something for everyone.  It’s also a unisex product so both men and women can reap the benefits of it.  I got the basic black mainly because it will match whatever I wear. I am nothing if not practical when it comes to my running accessories!

Here are some of the great features of the FlipBelt:

  • Four easily accessible pocket openings throughout the exterior of the belt
  • Made with Spandex- Lycra makes it easy to flip to lock in items
  • 3M Quality Reflective Logo
  • Non-Bounce, sleek comfortable design prevents uncomfortable chafing
  • Machine washable & machine dryable
  • Easily holds medication such as inhalers, insulin pumps, epipens, etc…
  • EPA Certified, Odor Resistant, Pilling Resistant, Anti-Bacterial High Tech Poly Spandex Fabric
  • Various colors available to accent your workout wardrobe

Instuctional 2

As you can see from the picture above, you slide your items in through one of the 4 slits in the belt and once everything is inside, you flip the belt over and it’s all secure.  

I have now used the FlipBelt on 4 different runs (twice for strength training) and here are my thoughts:

  • It fits perfectly low on my hips where I like it and didn’t budge, not even once!
  • There was no bounce and I actually didn’t even notice I had anything on, which for me is key.
  • It is made of thick but super soft material so it felt sturdy and strong and there was no rubbing or chafing.
  • It holds A LOT!  I put into my FlipBelt my phones, license, ID to get into my work building, a gel and the key to my gym locker and everything was secure and didn’t shift at all.
  • There is a latch inside that you can tether to your keys.

Potential CONS for some people:

  • It’s a tubular product, meaning there is  no zipper so you have to step in and out of the belt. 
  • More access points.  There are four, but some people may want more. I felt like four was more than enough but I’m trying to think of what others may want, not just me.

Overall, I LOVE this belt.  I love that I can carry a lot of things with me without having to hold anything in my hands.  I love that I don’t even notice I am wearing the FlipBelt (isn’t that what we look for when trying to find our perfect fitness accessories?)  A few things to note.  While they recommend that you “flip” your belt when all your items are inside, I never did.  I didn’t feel I needed to since everything fit snugly and I felt that all my stuff was secure.  I am a control freak, big news to all my longtime readers I’m sure 😉 and I liked being able to reach in quickly to get to my phone to grab a picture or change the song I was listening to.  Also, I have two phones…an iPhone 5s (work) and a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (personal).  When I work out, I almost always have both on me, mainly because I haven’t figured out how to get all my music onto my iPhone so when I run, I always have my Note on me.  While the FlipBelt “technically” says it’s doesn’t accommodate the Note 2, I felt there was plenty of room in the belt for it.  It is a bit of a tighter squeeze than the iPhone with the Otter Box, but I was able to easily continue to run and take it in and out of the belt to change my music without skipping a beat!

Here’s a shot of me at the end of my run the other day wearing the FlipBelt – you can definitely see the reflective logo, and this was during the day!   It really just looks and feels like it’s part of my pants.

flip belt 1

Here’s another shot. I’m standing in my closet so it’s a bit darker but you can get the idea!

flipbelt 2

 If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a running/fitness band and don’t want to be rocking a fanny pack like this…

NKOTB fanny pack


You can use the discount code “SWEAT33″ for 10% OFF your entire purchase at the FlipBelt online store through September 4th.  (UPDATED: You may have noticed the original discount was for 33% off, however, these codes were leaked to online discount shopping sites and FlipBelt had to change the discount. I apologize for this in advance.)These belts are already really affordable, so this code just sweetens the deal.  You can share this deal with you friends and family too by tweeting the message below!

Tweet: Run, play, explore with #FlipBelt! Use the code SWEAT33 for 10% OFF your entire purchase! @flipbelt @fitapproach #sweatpink


****Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to review FlipBelt through my affiliation with Fit Approach.  While I received the belt for free, I was not given any other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.****


Question of the day

Do you run with a belt? Fanny pack?  What’s your favorite running accessory to carry all your gear?

Why runners/exercisers make (or will make) the best parents {Guest Post}

Happy Friday friends…I’m sad to say my vacation is almost over, but I’m very excited to introduce you all to my last guest blogger.  My beautiful and funny friend Susie from the Suzlyfe.com has sprinkled some of her awesomeness over here at Life Between the Miles today to talk to you about why runners/exercisers make (or will make) the best parents.  If you haven’t checked out Susie’s site before, head on over and give her some love, she is awesome!

I’ll see you all bright and early on Monday morning when I return to work…eek! 🙂  Have a great weekend!


Why runners/exercisers make (or will make) the best parents

Good morning, all! My name is Susie, and I blog over at Suzlyfe.com. I absolutely adore Sara, so you know I jumped at the chance to help her out with a guest post so that she and her fam can take a well-deserved break.

One of the attributes I love most about Sara (and many of our common blogger friends) is her amazing dedication to her son, Ashton. I am not yet a mother (though, willing, I will be in a few years), but I have learned through the months of following certain blogs that my years as a runner and fitness-minded person have helped to prepare me for my next great exploit in life, becoming a parent.

Why runners/exercisers make (or will make) the best parents:

We always have food with us. On my first trip with Alex (actually, the trip during which we got engaged), I remember telling him as we set forth on our day of exploration that one of the reasons I knew I would make a good mother was that I NEVER leave the house without a snack ready. I’m always “packing heat,” or my version of it. Bars, pretzels, chocolate…. You never know when you might just need something. Especially during marathon training (runger). We understand tired and hungry.


To further that point, our purses and cars are stocked as if they are bomb shelters. In my little bag, I have bandaids, Neosporin, tweezers, lip balm, hand sanitizer, gum, snacks, a hair tie, feminine supplies, a small perfume sample, a piece of candy, flosser, tea bags, and a spoon (no joke). And likely a napkin. A water bottle stays in my purse (or at my office), and I have a mini hair brush. In my car I keep deodorant, wet wipes, plastic silverware, crackers, flip flops, and a jacket (in addition to first aid stuff). We are ready for lock down, I tell you.

food drawer suzlyfe

We’ve honestly seen it all. Cuts, scrapes, bodily fluids. Doesn’t phase us. Neither do crazy colors, costumes, or superstitions.

16 milers wounds

We don’t take crap from anyone and we take security, health, and safety very seriously. You bet your britches that child will be in a helmet on a bike and holding my hand across the road.

Getting up early ain’t nothing on us. After enough early morning or late night workouts, you realize that the body can adapt to just about anything, if you give it the time.

We respect our bodies. Something that exercise, and specifically training for a goal, has given me is an absolute and utter respect for my body, particularly in consideration of the other obstacles it has to overcome in the process (for those who don’t know, I have Crohn’s Disease). On those days that I might be feeling less than stellar about myself, I stop, take a deep breath, and think about all the amazing gifts my body has given me, the accomplishments that I never thought I would even want to attempt, and what it continues to do. Often times, moms find themselves wishing that they looked differently, that they still had certain pieces of their “pre-baby” bod back. But think of the amazing accomplishment that this post-baby body has achieved!

Training + goal race = pregnancy + birth in many ways. I’m not saying that a medal = baby, but in both cases, you are shifting your entire approach to your life as you set yourself up for a massive expenditure (race/birth). You find yourself having peak weeks before those last few weeks of rest, you give it all you have, and then you give your body the time to reset after before you start to put it back under pressure.

We know what it is like to give of ourselves entirely to something, even when we are so so tired or sick, or just feel like we have nothing else to give. You put your mind on autopilot and push through. And after, when you look at that child resting or laughing, or you reach that finish and think of that accomplishment, all of that stress and AAAACCCHHHHHH seems worth it. And for every “bad” or tough run, there are a million amazing steps.

Along the same note, we are perceptive enough to know when to push, and when to say “uncle.” Sometimes, in order to save yourself for the long haul, you need a rest day. Or, in the other direction, sometimes, you need to just run. Call in reinforcements, and make it happen.

We all have guilt about the time that we spend away from our family. But it is so important to remember that your health and happiness is just as important (in a different way) to the health and happiness of your family. That is not to be selfish, or irresponsible, but find a way to bolster both. Don’t feel guilty for needing and insisting upon “me” time—just don’t let it be the majority and make it count. The way I think about it, my husband wants me to be happy, and if a 30 minute run while he shoulders a little responsibility is enough to earn it, then he is likely to be in support of that. And vice versa.

You don’t have to do it alone, and to be sure, you are never truly alone. Running, children, common passions—they all unite us, no matter how isolated we sometimes feel.

alex and suz

I hope you enjoyed my take on mommyhood and running, and remember, I am not yet a mom, but I hope that my practice balancing my dedications to my family, sport, and work will help me to be a great one.

Find me on Twitter @Suzlyfe Instagram @the_Suzlyfe Facebook Suzlyfe Pinterest @Suzlyfe


Question of the day

What do you think? How else has a life of fitness empowered you as a parent, spouse, or team member?

My vacation in pictures

I’m BBBAACCCKKK!!!  Sorry I kind of fell off the face of the earth for two weeks, but I really needed a break!  Clearly I was excited for vacation, but in a way, I was bummed we weren’t going anywhere “fun”.  This is the first time that we took a vacation and stayed home.  I have heard staycations were amazing, but I was skeptical, mainly because I LOVE to travel and see new places.  However, our sweet Morgan was very sick and we knew we didn’t have a lot of time left with him. He couldn’t withstand the vacation we were planning this year and I couldn’t leave him behind in case something bad happened, so we stayed close to home.  I’m glad we did because on Thursday, August 21st we had to put our sweet boy down.  I won’t talk much more about it here because I just can’t quite yet, but I will say I was glad to be able to hold him and tell him I love him as he peacefully went to sleep.  For 8 years this little guy was at my side day in and day out, I am still trying to adjust to not having him with us.

Okay, enough with the tears.  I wanted to recap my vacation for you all but rather than bore with you a play by play, I decided I would recap my 2 weeks in pictures.  I tried to narrow down the pics, but we did a lot of fun things.  The good thing about pictures is you can quickly scan them!   At a high level, we went to NH to visit family, went to the zoo, numerous parks, took train rides, ate a lot of ice cream, did art projects, went 4 wheeling, picked blueberries, rode tractors, did a trail race (recap will be up soon,) went to an indoor play center and dove head first into potty training! All in all, it was a pretty stellar vacation filled with a lot of laughter, good food and family.

PicMonkey Collage 1


PicMonkey Collage2


PicMonkey Collage3


PicMonkey Collage4


Before I sign off…I wanted to thank all my guest bloggers again.  THANK YOU!  I am so grateful that you all took the time out of your busy lives to help me out and give me a true vacation!  I can’t convey how much I appreciate that!


Question of the day

Have you had a staycation?  What did you do?

Where is the last place you went on vacation?

Speed Work {Guest Post}

Hey friends!  Today, our guest post is from Rachel at Running on Happy!  Rachel is a busy running mama to an adorable little boy! Rachel and I  are both Ambassadors in a few of the same groups, but I first met Rachel when she contacted me because I won a pair of compression socks through her blog!  It was a total shock since I rarely win anything, especially something as awesome as a pair of compression socks (you all know how much I love my compression gear!)  Rachel is an awesome lady and I’m excited to introduce you all to her.  She is here to talk to us a bit today about different kinds of speed work to improve our running!  Enjoy!


Different types of Speed Work

As runners, we all know how important speed work can be. Sufficient time spent training on speed can mean a new PR, or an age-group win! Speed work is so simple to do – don’t let the daunting task of “speed work” scare you off. Below are a few of my favorites, and simple ways to do them.

Ideally, you will need to find a local track. Most high schools, and even some colleges, leave their tracks unlocked and open for public use. Just be sure to go during an “off season” time so as not to disrupt track or cross country practice. If you can’t find a track, it’s easy to improvise.

4x400s and beyond

This is the easiest of all speed workouts to accomplish. You can do it virtually anywhere with a little bit of planning. Utilizing a local track is your best bet, but anywhere will do. The goal is to work your 5K speed into a longer length workout over time. For example, the first time you do this workout, you will likely start at 4×400. This means you will run one time around the track at your 5K pace. After each 400 meter run, you will lightly jog or quickly walk for 200m – 400 m. You will repeat the 5K pace part of it four (4) times. Do this workout every other week and add 400 meters each time.

Tempo Runs

A tempo run is a little more difficult to gauge. It is very subjective. It varies very much from person to person. But the gist of the tempo run is this: you want to start slow, build up to peak speed for a couple of minutes, and then return to a slower pace.

There is no exact time or distance you should run a tempo. For example, my tempo runs are usually relatively short, about 30-40 minutes. I run a nice, conversational pace for about 10 minutes, and then I start to build in intensity. I hold a fast pace for about 2-3 minutes, and then start slowing down again.

Bleacher Runs

Bleacher runs, while not building speed exactly, are great to build muscle. Muscle means power, and power often translates into speed. Running bleachers is super fun! And it’s so easy. Ready?

Get to the bleachers (normally also found at the track). Start on one end and run up once, run down once. Repeat until you get to the other end of the bleachers. Do this as many times as you’d like, but if you’re new to bleacher runs, you might want to start with just one round (unless they are small bleachers, of course).

Stoplight Fartlek Run

The name of this workout comes from the shift in pace you will do throughout. Red is hard, moderate is yellow, and easy is green. You will repeat the following intervals three times. Run hard (red) for 30 seconds, easy (green) for 90 seconds, moderate (yellow) for 60 seconds, easy (green) for 60 seconds, hard (red) for 90 seconds, and easy (green) for 3 minutes. Total time if you complete three sets will be 25 ½ minutes. To make this a longer workout, add up to 10 minutes of light jogging as a warm-up.

Mailbox Runs

Can’t get to a track? Mailbox runs are simple and fun speed runs you can do in your neighborhood. Run hard between three mailboxes; recover with a slow jog between two mailboxes. Repeat, change it up (run hard for four mailboxes, recover with three), and have fun! You can make this as long or as short as you’d like. And if you don’t have mailboxes in your ‘hood, you can use streetlights or fire hydrants. Bonus: this is a fun workout to do with kids, too.

Rachel running on happy


blog: http://www.runningonhappy.com

fb: www.facebook.com/runningonhappy

t: twitter.com/running_onhappy



Question of the day

Do you regularly do any kind of speed work?  If so, what is your favorite?

USATF Level I Coaching Certification {Guest Post}

Today, I bring you Meredith from over at FitNiceRunner. She is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, she owns her own PT business,  and is a USA Track and Field Level I Coach.  One of her big goals is to run 50 Half Marathons in 50 States–amazing right?  Meredith is a fellow Sweat Pink and Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and has a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to running.  Because of this, I asked her to tell us a bit about her expereince on becoming a USATF Level I Coach.


USATF Level I Coaching Certification

Hi everyone!  This is Meredith from over at FitNiceRunner.  I’m an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and USA Track and Field Level I Coach who lives in Virginia Beach, owns FitNicePT and is happy to be here to tell you about my USATF certification.

I was a runner in my middle and high school days then took a long hiatus due to knee problems before rediscovering my passion for the sport in 2012.  I built strength and slowly starting running again, bracing my knee and fighting off a case or two of tendonitis to run my first half in November of that year.  Over the next few months I was approached by several clients for help and advice in preparing for their upcoming races.  I had a blast helping these ladies and gentlemen reach new PRs and it made me want to become a better running coach.

In order to provide the best possible coaching I can, I decided to register for a USA Track and Field’s Level One Coaching Certification Course and learn more.  I completed the course this past March and am so glad I did.  There was a bit of recommended reading before taking the three day, 21 hour course but nothing was required.


Things got rolling Friday evening and it flew by.  The class was full of coaches from up and down the east coast and their faces were of every shape, size and age.  It’s amazing how accepting and diverse the running world is.  There really is a place for anyone, especially those who want to help others improve.  We covered the USATF Philosophy, basic sport Psychology, and basic running Physiology during Friday’s session.  It was a great review of things I’ve learned through my training career while picking up a few new tidbits of sport related information.

Saturday morning kicked off around 8:30 with a valuable outline of Biomechanics then rolled right into Training Theory and Sprints/Hurdles before lunch.  I was familiar with the first two subjects, but beyond my meager attempts at crashing through a few hurdles and some not-so-fast sprints in high school, I really didn’t know much about these events, especially how to coach them.  I thought it was really interesting how each of the track and field disciplines ties together.  I’m a distance runner, coaching distance runners but speed work is an important element of long distance training.  Learning more about it, how to do it properly and some new workout variable was both interesting and valuable.

After lunch we covered the second half of the Sprints/Hurdles curriculum, worked through the Biomotor section and wrapped up the twelve hour day with my favorite topic, the Endurance Events.  I had a great talk with the instructor once the lecture wrapped up and got lots of advice on half marathon training that will be a big help in guiding both my clients and myself through upcoming races.

It was back to finish up Sunday morning with the Throwing Events before lunch and close the educational experience with the Jumps Events.  Much like the Sprint and Hurdle Events, I knew a bit about the Throws and Jumps but these two sections were definitely the most foreign to me.  It was neat to see how some of the technical elements of the Jumps Events are similar to the Sprint Events because it helped me understand the mechanics.

A short closing signaled the end of the 21 hour endeavor and I walked away with a brain swimming in information I couldn’t wait to share with clients and apply to my own training.  The instructors were great.  They were enthusiastic, incredibly knowledgeable and more than willing to answer questions so we could grow as coaches.  I decided during my drive back to Virginia Beach to take my 200 question Level One Coaching Exam the next morning.  Even though the exam is open book, I really wanted to see what I retained and put mine away.  The lengthy exam took more time than expected but I knocked out a 97% and became an official USATF Level I Coach.


The course covers lots of events, disciplines, key physical and important coaching points making it a solid base for any coaching career.  One of the biggest benefits from being in a classroom with 50 other coaches for 20+ hours is the sharing of experiences, training and psychological management tips.  With this Level I certification anyone can go on to coach runners of any age in any variety of settings.  This course made me a more better coach, a better runner and I hope to do the Endurance Level II in the next two or three years!

Thanks to Sara for letting me take over her blog for the day!  I’d love to help you reach your next PR.  Please Tweet, Facebook, comment or email me and let’s get started.


Question of the day

Does you want to become certified as a running coach?  Have you ever used a running coach before?

Being the Runner in a Non-Running Family {Guest Post}

I am so excited to introduce you to Mike from Running Around the Bend.  Mike is an extraordinary guy and I am so glad that he found my blog and that we have become friends. Mike is just one of those guys who you can’t help but like and he is one of the first blogs I visit everyday when I check in with my blogging friends.  I really enjoy his writing style and how he talks about everything from work, family, and running to music and social issues he is passionate about and does so in a very captivating way.

Mike manages a very challenging job and runs a ridiculous amount of miles a week (I am VERY jealous) all while being a devoted family man.  He freely speaks about his deep love and admiration for his beautiful wife of over 20 years and his two handsome sons. However, Mike is a runner in a non-running family and that can be tough as many of us know.  He is here to talk to us about a bit more about that today!  Enjoy!


Being the Runner in a Non-Running Family

I met Sara the way I often meet bloggers – through her comments on another blog. And in this case it was because she referenced Massachusetts – my home state (though we live in NY now). That was enough for me to check out her site, and I haven’t left since. Her thoughtful approach to exercise and nutrition, as well as her love of her family, and always-interesting blog posts have put her high on my daily must-read list. So I was thrilled when she asked me to fill in with a guest post while she is on vacation.

The Basics

Here is the reality: unless you are an elite runner who is sponsored and paid to be a professional runner and dedicate your life to training and running … nearly every run will include some form of compromise. What do I mean by that? Let me take a minute and explain.

When I first started running at 23 to lose weight, I tried to run at night after work but that wasn’t working, so I switched to mornings. My start-time was pretty much fixed, so adding in a 30-45 minute workout meant getting up about an hour earlier every morning. THAT meant either going to bed earlier or dealing with less sleep – which is inherently a compromise, since going to sleep earlier means less time for after-work activities and so on. Make sense so far?

Add on work travel, a girlfriend-turned-fiance-turned wife, buying a house, and having two kids, all while maintaining a demanding job … and you have a recipe for loads of extra compromises during my 25+ years of running. And once you have added in all of those dynamics, you are not just compromising your own time – it starts to involve others. I have seen this reflected a lot in parents with young children training for marathons – they have to flex their lives around available time, or their spouse has to flex their schedule to accommodate training, or some other arrangements need to be made to deal with children who need supervision.

View from the Runner’s Side

Our spouses families and friends are our biggest supporters, cheerleaders, provide encouragement when you’re down, and more … but they really don’t understand why we do this to ourselves. They don’t ‘get it’ – which sounds insulting, but stick with me for a bit. Many of them understand the love of exercise, the drive for fitness and excellence and constant betterment … but there are limits. Here are a few thoughts on why we love this sport so much:

1. I Know I Don’t NEED to, But I DO!

As I said, the first 20 years of ‘my running life’, I would not run on weekends, and if we had other ‘calorie burning activities’ I would tend to skip my run. So when Lisa said to me the other day ‘you don’t NEED to run today, you know’ – I replied, I KNOW I don’t … but I want to.

It is a concept that is not easy for non-runners – they ask ‘why?’ … is it fitness? Weight loss? Endurance? Training? Sanity? or WHAT?!? And of course the answer is ‘yes’ – sometimes to all of those questions and other times to one in specific.

2. Racing Isn’t About Running, But It Is

When I sign up for a race, I am committing myself to do my best. I am not a ‘casual racer’, I sign up for very few, so I want to make the most of them, properly assess my fitness and training, and put forth my best run.

Again, this makes sense to an extent – but what can I possibly get from a 10K that I couldn’t get on my 6.25 mile loop?

Unlike running the normal routes, a race makes you start at a specific time, run with others, consider fueling differently, and realize that everything you do is measured and you get an overall assessment at the end – and learn about how you handled that run compared to a bunch of others.

3. Racing Is About Social Aspects, But Also Solo Time

Aside from my brother and the Wineglass Marathon, I have never specifically run with someone else at a race. Sure I see people I know and say hi, but basically I am there for ME. It is about how I go through this challenge, how I handle everything, and what my body delivers.

Yet I also am social and have no problem having a few chats along the way. The biggest one was during my last half-marathon last year, where I was trying to work and even pace, and ended up chatting with a woman for several miles. She had recently lost her daughter and was stuff suffering after-effects of divorce, and running was an escape.

So being at a race allows me to share the experience with others … but the experience is uniquely my own. That strange dichotomy is something non-runners don’t really understand.

4. Racing, Like Running, Is Never ‘Done’.

It seemed to make sense – once I ‘conquered’ running a 5K I would move on, and by the time I did a half- and full-marathon there was no need to ever go back, right?

Um, no.

Each 5K I ran I have improved my time, same for every half- and full-marathon. It is about working hard, improving myself, and doing better all the time.

This is a tough one – the media makes it seem like 5Ks are fun little things and Marathons are ‘serious’. But guess what? They are all races – and we can always learn more about ourselves and our running by challenging ourselves in new races. Which leads me to …

5. I Will Never Stop Wanting to Improve

While I do mostly the same sorts of runs during the week, I am constantly trying new things – new route, new distance, new mini-challenge, and so on. I always want to be better. I mentioned in my weekend post how hills are an evolving challenge for me, and that I have a blast pushing myself more and more with them.

Same for races – I want to keep hitting better and better times, trying new things, and find different ways to push my comfort zone.

6. I am Acutely Aware of the Chance of Injury

Many non-running people only hear about running in a bad way – injuries, attacks, and so on. And since they worry about us, they worry that we might end up hurt.

And there are many ways to get injured – under-fueling, large routine change-ups, too much too fast, and so on. When our families and friends question of we are going to get hurt, they are expressing concern – and that is a good thing. Answer honestly – tell them what you are doing to ensure you are not headed towards injury, then follow through.

7. I Just Really, Really Love to Run

There is a practice in ‘Lean Six Sigma’ called ‘The 5 Whys’ … which is ultimately about getting to the root cause – asking Why once gets you surface info, again gets you deeper and so on until you get to the core.

I feel like there are the ‘5 Whys of Running’ – and I hear them particularly during the winter. Because it is -20F and I could be on a treadmill … or in bed. But I am not.


Because I am a runner, I love running outside, I just completely love running, and there is no sport or activity that can replace it for me. So unless there is active lightning or dangerous ice … you know where you’ll find me. By choice. Every day.

Because I love running … because I am a runner.

View from the non-Runner’s Side

But that statement – that non-runners don’t ‘get it’ – doesn’t tell the whole story or paint the entire picture or whatever tired metaphor you prefer. The people around us are NOT stupid, and chances are that as runners we have provided them with plenty of reasons to be concerned and count our own objectivity about running. Which means we aren’t necessarily objective about the greater impact of our activities – and so we need to listen when we are told “you have no idea what it is like to be waiting on the other side of the finish line.”:

1. It is NEVER ‘Just a Run’

Sure you can get hurt stepping into the shower, but running presents unique challenges. All this winter I ran in some incredibly dangerous conditions – sub-zero temperatures with strong winds, days school was cancelled, unplowed roads and so on. In summer, there is heat exhaustion and dehydration to content with as well! Sometimes we say we’re going for 5-6 miles and end up doing 9-10 (that isn’t just me, right?) and our family wonders where we are. Things a runner might call ‘a challenge’, their supporters think of as ‘scary’ or ‘stupid’.

The longer the distance, the greater the chance of things happening, the greater the worry.

2. The Fear of the Medical Tent

This past year at the Wineglass Marathon was brutal. Not only were the temperatures over 88F and humid, it had already cooled down in our area so no one was ready for it! As a result I passed two people loading into ambulances, had a police officer ask about another collapsed runner, saw more people vomiting than usual, people really hating it, and so on.

But while I saw that from the road, all my wife and kids saw was the people in awful shape finishing before me, including one who collapsed and had to be carried off less than 100 yards before the finish – and an overflowing medical tent. The uncertainty is incredibly hard for those waiting for loved ones – all they can do is sit and wait for you to appear.

3. By The Side of the Road, Somewhere

Pretty much every week this year there has been something on Facebook about a runner or biker who was hit or side-swiped or otherwise run off the road. And despite having ‘Find my phone’ and so on, it can be nerve-wracking when our loved ones head out the door, and don’t really know exactly when they’ll be home, and so on.

Every weekend when my run my kids ask me about my plans – how far, how long, planned routes. And I almost invariably run longer than originally planned, so they ask a follow up, because sometimes I have a hard limit, or they will need to get somewhere, or something.

4. Running a Marathon? 3-4 Hours Means 2 – 3 Days!

Last summer when I did the PA Grand Canyon, getting the packet was the day before, and the hours were about noon to 6, meaning that with the 1+ hour drive it ripped apart THAT day, then the race day is pretty much entirely consumed. And if you are traveling further then you might end up with two nights in a hotel.

And suddenly we see how a nice little morning run and cheap shoes twice a year can transform into something that takes up entire weekends and costs thousands of dollars per year between race fees, lodging, transportation, supplies, equipment and so on.

In most families, income flows into a ‘bucket’, and expenses flow out. There are savings requirements (hopefully), and then money left for use as a family and as individuals. Once running and racing steps over the ‘discretionary spending’ line, something else is being sacrificed.

5. Fear of Injury

Runners worry about injuries, but so do their loved ones for a few reasons: the obvious concern about any injury, knowing how much the inability to run will impact the person’s life, and the ‘stupid factor’.

There are some of my friends here who will laugh at that – but I can cite more than a couple of people who have ended up re-injured or hurt their recovery by being over-zealous, and at least one I am pretty sure did it but never fessed up.

6. More Than Just You

Again, the risk you take, the chance of injury, and so on … they don’t happen in a vacuum. If you are hurt or hit by a car or suffer a heart attack, you are unable to be there for loved ones, your job, your kids, and so on. And while you can certainly get an injury doing anything, doing an endurance sport where you push your body like a marathon adds to the risk, and it is always worth considering the risk/reward in the context of all the others impacted by your life.

The bottom line? While running is a solo activity, it is very much a ‘team sport’. I am very lucky to have an amazing team to support me and call me out on all of the stupid crap I do … and I really try to listen to the feedback (key word: try). As runners, that is what we need to do – be thankful for the love in our lives, appreciative of the support, and reflective of all the worry and concern these people have for us. And we should listen.

Some Final Thoughts

It is interesting that now my kids are older most of the TIME compromise has gone back to being my own. The boys are 16 and 17 and don’t need as much supervision, and when Lisa is off either we will exercise at the same time or I will take the day off. I always run before anyone else wakes up, so I don’t impact anyone else’s schedule that way.

But the financial impact of me running many more miles and races and needing more equipment has an impact on everyone at a time when saving everything possible is more important than every with two kids looking at starting college in the next couple of years.

And the reality is there are many more ways that my running impacts things in our family life, a few of which I mentioned here.

michael and lisa


Question of the day

How does running impact YOUR life and the lives of those around you?

Protein for runners {Guest Post}

Today I’m excited to introduce you all to Jenni. Jenni has her National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Training certification and is the personal trainer behind Fitzala.  If you haven’t checked out her site before, pop on over and do so, she has a wealth of fitness knowledge and loves to share her passion of health and wellness with her readers!  Jenni is going to talk to us today about protein for runners and has graciously offered up a delicious recipe that will have you racing to the kitchen to recreate.  Enjoy!


Protein for Runners

Hi everyone!

I’m really excited to be posting for Sara here at Life Between the Miles. Today we’ll be talking about one of my favorite subjects, protein! I’ll also share a great recipe with you that’s easy, quick and is really high in protein.

If you don’t know me, I manage Fitzala, an online workout community for women. Helping women get fit is my passion. I’ve seen so many women struggle through weight loss and getting fit and I just love helping them find what works. Getting “in shape” is a different process for different people but one thing I know that helps everyone is consuming adequate protein.


As you endurance runners already know, athletes are encouraged to eat a high percentage of carbs. Protein isn’t often talked about when you’re training for long distances even though it’s just as important.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is the minimum amount for adequate cellular function for sedentary adults. Since athletes put their body through more stress than the average person, they need significantly more than the government set RDA.

All athletes need more protein because the maintenance, repair and growth of lean muscle mass depend on it. Training puts your body through constant muscle breakdown and adequate protein is crucial to ensure that you don’t feel lethargic during runs and recovery. If you don’t get enough protein, it’s likely you’ll be anemic, incredibly tired, and sick since your immune system can’t operate at optimum levels.

So, now that I’ve sufficiently scared you, how much protein should you be eating? Work up to about 0.75 grams per pound of bodyweight each day. That’s about 112 grams for a 150 pound woman.

This might seem like a lot, but I promise it’s not that hard. Not to mention that it’s incredibly satiating. Trust me, I ask my weight loss clients to aim for more. Protein is awesome for other reasons- like how filling it is, how it preserves your muscle and improves the cellular regeneration of your skin.

Start with eggs for breakfast alongside your oatmeal or toast, up your chicken to 4-5 ounces during lunch instead of three and 4 ounces of steak at dinner. Snack on hard boiled eggs, jerky, leftover stir-fry, or….dark chocolate protein bites!

I love a sweet snack and these little guys satisfy my cravings for chocolate while doing me favors in the protein department. They hardly take any time to make and are easy to bring along while you’re on the go.

Dark Chocolate Protein Bites

dark choco protein bites

Author: Jenni Kenyon

Serves: 6


  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (casein works best)
  • 2 tbsp sugarfree maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp water


  1. Mix together the cocoa powder and protein
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  3. Form in to six balls and roll in sprinkles if desired


Nutrition Information:

Serving size: 1 bite Calories: 73 Fat: 4 Carbohydrates: 4 Fiber: 1 Protein: 9


Question of the day

Do you get in the correct amount of protein needed each day?  What’s your favorite way to get your protein in?

Tips for Finding and Keeping Your Motivation {Guest Post}

Today’s guest post is coming to you from the amazing Julia from Vegas Mother Runner!  Julia and I met via social media in a Healthy Mom’s Group that was a spin off of another group we were both a part of when we were pregnant.  So, we’ve known each other for more than 2 years!!  Julia lives in Sin City with her husband and  two beautiful girls.  In her short time running, she has made incredible gains, run a few half marathons, placed in more races than not, and most recently got accepted to run Big Sur in 2015 ( I am so excited to see her kill her first marathon!!)  So I’m really happy to introduce you all to my beautiful friend who is going to talk to us about finding and keeping your motivation!  Without further adieu…here’s Julia!


Tips for Finding and Keeping Your Motivation

First I want to thank Sara for having me as a guest blogger!  I really enjoy reading her blog and following her journey not only through fitness but parenting as well.  She has been a huge inspiration to me and I really admire her immensely.

Since I’ve begun my fitness journey about a year ago, I often get asked (especially by other mothers), “How do you find the motivation to do all this?” or “I wish I was as motivated as you!”  Well, guess what?  You can be!  I really believe that the hardest part of a fitness routine is not the actual work outs themselves, but finding the motivation to start.  Have you ever begun a workout and then stopped because you lost your motivation?  Probably not or not very often (unless you were suffering from some kind of injury).  But I bet there’s been several times when you had planned on working out but didn’t end up doing it (I am definitely guilty of this).  Am I right?  If we could all get over that initial dread of not wanting to work out and get motivated to put on our running shoes or drive to the gym or put in that workout DVD, we’d have the hard part of the work out done already!  So I wanted to offer you some tips that work for me to stay motivated.  And let me also say that while it probably seems like I personally never lose my motivation, that’s far from the truth.  I do go through periods where I really don’t feel like working out and it all seems overwhelming.  That’s where a lot of these tips really come in handy.

Be Social.  Nothing motivates me more than having other people to share it with.  Whether it’s meeting up with my run club for an early morning run, checking in with an online fitness group, or attending a group fitness class, knowing that other people are there and counting on me to be there too is always a good motivator for getting it done.  Try to make friends that have similar fitness likes and plan workouts together.  Make friends with regulars at gym classes that you like to attend.  Find an online fitness group that does daily check-ins to keep you accountable.  People are great motivators and can help you through your slump.

Have a Goal.  Whether it’s running a 5k or fitting in to your high school jeans, have a goal and don’t lose sight of it.  I know from personal experience that I tend to slack off a little during down time between training for races, so I try to make sure I’ve always got something coming up that forces me to push myself.

Create a Schedule.  Winging it every day can definitely lead to excuses.  But if you’ve got a schedule planned out each week, there’s no debating with yourself on what to do.  Just look at your schedule and do it!  Especially if you not only plan out what your workout will be, but what time of day you are going to do it.  That way you can plan your week around your workouts and make sure you get them all in.

Take it One Day at a Time.  So you’ve got your schedule at set for the week and just looking at it is making you tired?  Feeling a little overwhelmed?  Well, don’t.  Just take it one day at a time.  Focus only on the day ahead and getting in what you’ve got scheduled and don’t worry about the rest of the week.

Buy Something New.  While this isn’t always practical due to financial situations (don’t we all wish we could buy a new workout outfit every week?) you should be able to reward yourself occasionally with some new workout attire/gadget/etc.  Having something new to wear or try out is a great motivator for getting that workout done!

Don’t Think About It.  Your mind will come up with a thousand excuses on why you don’t want/need/have to work out.  So why even go there?  Just go through the motions (put on your workout clothes, drive to the gym, etc.) without even thinking about the actual hard work you’re about to do.  If I sat in bed every morning when my alarm went off and thought about running 5 miles, I’d never do it.  Instead I just turn off the alarm, get dressed, brush my teeth and go about my morning.  I don’t even think about my run until I actually start running.  At that point, there’s no room for debate because I’m already doing it.

Think About How Good You’ll Feel.  Okay if you must think about your workout beforehand, then here’s a thought.  Rather than thinking about your actual workout, think about how good you will feel when it is over.  You will feel better physically and emotionally.  You will feel accomplished and any feelings of guilt will be gone.  You’re free to enjoy the rest of your day without having that nagging feeling in your mind.  It is such a freeing feeling!

Don’t Get Discouraged.  If you fall off the fitness wagon, don’t be discouraged.  It happens to all of us.  Life gets in the way, things happen.  Just start where you left off (or even take a few steps back, that’s okay too!) and keep going.  You are never out of shape enough to not work out!

everyday is a new beginning-Julia's post

So there are my little insider tips for getting and staying motivated.  I hope these help you out so that you can reach your fitness goals!


Question of the day

How do you find & keep your motivation?


A tasty non-lettuce salad {Guest Post}

Greetings friends!  Today is my first “real” day of vacation and I’m excited to start unveiling my guest bloggers.  First up is Smitha from Running with SD Mom.  Like her blog name says, she is a running mama who lives in sunny San Diego (I’m SO jealous!)  She is a fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and she has recently posted some BIG news….she just signed up for her FIRST full marathon and will be crossing the finish line at the Phoenix Marathon on February 28th!!  I’m so excited for her!  With Summer winding down in Boston soon, I know a lot of us, especially in the Northeast try to hold onto the good weather for as long as possible.  With good weather comes good food and this non-lettuce salad is the perfect addition to your recipe arsenal!  I actually made this salad yesterday for lunch and it was delicious, like so delicious I also had it as part of my dinner too!  Bon Appetite!


Japanese cabbage salad recipe
I have been obsessed lately with salads. The heat goes up and my stove and oven stay off. And I am a little weird. Okay a lot weird. I am not a huge fan of lettuce salads. So I create and find different non-lettuce salads and every once in a while I get lucky and find a super good one like this pasta salad.
I made another delicious one the other day that I would like to share with Sara’s readers. Have you ever been to the San Sai Japanese restaurant ? They have a salad on their menu – Sumi Salad – and it is sweet, tangy, crunchy and delicious and I was determined to recreate it on my own. I found a similar version on Only My Best Recipes. You can find the original ingredients and instructions here .
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. dry roasted sliced almonds
  • 1/4 c. sesame seeds
  • 6 T. rice vinegar
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 3/4 cup chow mein noodles (found in the grocery store near the Asian foods)


1. Sauté almonds and sesame seeds and oil over medium heat, stirring constantly. This took me about 4 minutes. You will know they are ready when you can smell them. Remove from heat and set aside to cool! Don’t burn them. Start over if you do – punishment!
photo 1

2. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper for the dressing using a whisk or my trusty plastic fork! Put in refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.
photo 2
3.  Slice one head of green cabbage, slicing as thinly as possible. There is a TON of cabbage in a medium head.
PicMonkey Collage
4. Slice green onions. At this point, you can layer your salad. A lot of cabbage, a sprinkle of green onions and so on until both cabbage and green onions are done. (You can cover at this point for use the next day, store the almonds and seeds in a baggie all in the fridge)
photo 5
5. Pour chilled dressing over the cabbage and onions and sprinkle with chow mien noodles and serve!
6.Do not mix the ingredients together unless you are serving within 20 minutes. The noodles will get soggy!
Hope you like this salad! This is one of our favorites. We like to add grilled chicken or salmon to the plate to make it a main dish! Enjoy!
And as always, I wish you Happy Feet,
SD Mom


Question of the day

Are you a salad lover?  Do you like to experiment with different types of salads?