Blue Ridge Marathon: T minus 2 months

Apparently, we are two months out from the marathon!  How did that happen?  Since I’m following a training plan that I have mostly done before, I don’t feel like there are any big surprises for me right now – at least as far as the plan goes.

One thing that I have done is add in a lot more cross-training and I’m really seeing the benefits!  I try to do a light stretching program on Monday, swim or HIIT on Wednesdays, and boot camp or spin class on Fridays.  I think just moving my legs in a different direction is such a nice change for them!

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I’m becoming rather fond of the Fitness Blender couple.

The one “surprise” that we received is we found out that my BRF/training partner will not be able to join me at Blue Ridge due to a family commitment.  While we are both super disappointed, she found another marathon for the next week so we can keep training together (I can’t imagine trying to run at 4:00 am on a Tuesday without her!) The biggest problem is we’ll both be doing our marathons solo.  Not ideal.


Thankfully, the Blue Ridge Marathon has a ton of super friendly supporters.  I have literally never seen such awesome aid stations in a relatively small race!  Also, most of the participants are not trying to burn up the road (at least not where I run!) so it’s easy to strike up a conversation.  Still.  She’ll be missed.

In other “fun” news, I took my first fall in almost 4 years on our long run on Sunday.  At mile 7 we were commenting on how fast we were going and wondering what our average pace was so I decided to check it on my watch and BAM!  Down I went.  My elbow took the brunt of it, with just road rash and a super nasty bruise on my legs.  After I got cleaned up, we still pulled of two fast miles back to the start.  I managed to destroy my water bottle in the fall so I couldn’t finish the entire run but I was starting to feel it so was happy to stop at 9 miles.


We raced the last two miles to try to catch the sunrise but didn’t quite make it.

After that little adventure, my family and I went to a local ski resort for the weekend so my poor kid would finally see some snow.  45 minutes of “ice skating” (more like swimming, it was 70!) and two hours snow tubing killed me. image1 (3).JPG

We won’t talk about the water park the next day…

Good thing LR was willing to be my seeing eye kid because I couldn’t see a damn thing!

And so we soldier on!  Various work and school issues are creating some need for creative scheduling in the next few months but, we’ll figure it out.

If you’re training, how is it going?  Just logging the miles or are you mixing things up?  How do you keep it fresh?

I’m participating in a link-up with other Blue Ridge Marathon Ambassadors!  Check them out! (I’ll update the list as more post, because I’m an idiot and can’t figure out how to do it automatically via the link-up)

Meandering Echoes

BRM Training: week 8 update

I haven’t written much about my training plan because I feel like things are humming along, pretty much on track.  I’m hitting the hills like crazy, I’m doing boot camp on a regular basis (unheard of before), I’m doing more core work, and I’ve only missed a couple of workouts.  I’m also walking two miles every day at lunch still and that has been a big mental boost.

But, we are starting to get into the “long-ass long run” territory.  The kind where you need to remember to use Body Glide and pack all your fuel.

Last week’s LALR was 16 miles.  And let me tell you, it was a struggle from mile 1.  We had a forced “group hug” at mile 4 and things perked up a bit as the sun rose but, at mile 13, I was the closest I have ever come to just quitting and calling for someone to pick me up.  I was hurting and mentally miserable.  Thankfully, my stubborn streak kicked in and said “the hell you are!” so I turned on some 80s music and put my head down and finished it.  Mentally, it was a “win” but man, what a price.

Of course we had to take turns climbing on the tree…
I felt like an extra in the Blair Witch Project

So, skip ahead to this week’s LALR – 17 miles.  As you can imagine, we were feeling a bit… apprehensive.  Not only did we run faster than expected the day before on a ton of hills but we also accidentally ran an extra mile. Brilliant.  Add to that the fact that my BRF got about 10 seconds of sleep and was busting butt all night at her waitressing job, we were expecting quite the shit show.

BUT, we had a secret weapon!  I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to do a Valentine’s theme race and this area is lousy with them.  There was a 5K that day so we planned to make that the end of our long run!  That meant doing 14 miles in an area that we aren’t overly familiar with but we were up for a challenge!   We parked at the starting area for the race and headed out to make the most of it.

It’s a girl on a bike! (with a rabid squirrel!)
Nice and flat!

We had such a good 14 miles!  The hills were rough but not anything we couldn’t handle, the conversation was flowing the entire time, and we were really up beat!  We ran that first section at a 10:09 pace.  I also set a half marathon PR.  What the hell??

Now on to part two!  We did a quick shirt change in the parking lot -sorry random people driving by – and ditched our packs/ added more Valentine’s obnoxiousness awesomeness. (true fact, I ran the entire distance in my tutu because I was afraid of trying to bend down and put it on after 14 miles)

We were stupid happy. I think the endorphins hit ALL AT ONCE

We had two friends that we were hoping to see for a few minutes and they decided to run with us as one of them was a little beat up from mountain biking and trail running the day before (total BA).

Skirts from Gone for a Run, puppy hats from Etsy

These ladies were such a blessing to have with us!  Somehow, this race was entirely up hill!  We’d run up a hill, turn the corner, and have to run up another stinking hill!  It was nuts!  Needless to say, the last 2 miles were painful and both of us were struggling.  Having our friends with us to chat and keep us distracted made the world of difference!  We finished that 5K still at 10:05.  Again, what the hell??

I cannot tell you how much I love this!

The entire day was perfection.  Yes, we worked hard (and yes, we are sore today!) but it wasn’t a drudgery.  I wish I could bottle up all of that awesomeness and open it on every bad or difficult run.

I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation and attitude and about how a lot of the struggle is just getting out there and showing up.  You don’t know what the day/run will bring you but, if you don’t show up and put in your best effort every time, you’ll never be blessed with days like this ❤


More on Isagenix

See Part One of my review here.

So, what can’t you eat?  Not too much, really.  No dairy, red meat, minimal fruit (only if you are following the strict 30 day program), white foods (white potatoes, white rice, white bread), carrots and peas (high sugar).  That’s about it!  You’re encouraged to drop coffee or use their low-acid version.  Honestly, I’m finding my coffee dependence greatly lessening.  I’m down to just half a cup a day now.  I used to drink 4-5 cups a day!

Here’s what I ate yesterday: thick chocolate shake for breakfast with a Natural Accelerator; mid-morning snack of egg whites, avocado, and a brown rice cake (all things I like – I have a long list of snack options); lunch of another shake (I could have had vanilla, strawberry, or mixed berry but grabbed chocolate by accident), an IsaDelight chocolate, and another Accelerator; afternoon snack of a small apple and raw almond butter; and dinner of savory sweet potato waffles , poached eggs, and a side salad with balsamic vinegar.  Hardly a deprivation diet.  And water.  A LOT of water.

What about cost?  The initial start up package cost me $342 for the month (there was a “new year” benefit that offered free enrollment – the initial cost may be higher/lower for you) but, here is a comparison of our average grocery bills for the past few weeks (yes, we spend a lot on groceries.  We live in an expensive area and never eat out. Don’t judge me :D)

Before Isagenix: Trader Joe’s $162
Giant $77
Total $239
After Isagenix: Trader Joe’s $124
Giant $57
Total $181
Difference $58
Savings per month $232

That monthly $232 savings is just on groceries. It does not include Starbucks, migraine medicine, or other things I no longer need.  Based on just grocery savings along, it costs me less than $30 per week extra to use the base system!  That’s pretty reasonable, if you ask me.


Can I lose xx lbs in a month??  It’s hard to say how much you will lose.  Everyone is different.  I’m not being dodgy but there isn’t a clear answer to this. Don’t expect a magic pill, though.

Can I use this and train heavy? Yes.  There are actually quite a few pro-athletes that use Isagenix (I did not know this) and there is a large Facebook group dedicated to runners who use the program and are willing to share their experience and perspective.  It includes people just starting to those who run ultras and Boston.  I’m sure there are also other groups for weightlifters, cross-fitters, etc.

How much are you exercising? A shit-ton.  In addition to my running, I am walking two miles at work almost every day (one of my goals was to walk more during the day #nailedit) plus cross training at least twice a week. That said, only the walking is beyond my training plan.  I didn’t suddenly go into overdrive to make the diet work —  but you will see better results if you exercise and try to move more.

Run The Year Challenge

Is the science valid? I am not a scientist nor a nutritionist. They are using studies from, and are publishing in, main-stream, peer-reviewed journals.  Take that as you will.  They do cite everything so you can easily read the source articles.

Isn’t it just a MLM that’s only looking to make bank?  Eh, I don’t think so.  Sure, you are encouraged, and compensated, to sign people up but you are not penalized if you don’t.  You can easily use the program successfully and never talk to a soul about the products.  There are a lot of various coaching/support groups.  Some may be more high pressure than others.  The ones I am in are seriously low key.  If you are in one that is too sales-y, move on.

What will you do different this month?  Like I said, I like the cleanses but they are rough since I don’t have two “off” days in a row in my training plan.  I think I am going to try just cleansing on just Monday’s for this next month and see what that does for me.  They say that 80% of the fat loss is on the second day but if it helps with the inflammation and I can stick to my training schedule, that will be okay with me.

I am also going to try a “belly buster” option – it is basically a scoop of their straight protein (not the meal replacement shakes) with a scoop of their “fruits” mix and you take it 30 minutes before bed.  The idea is that you will sleep more soundly, enhancing weight loss, and your body will be able to burn more fat more easily.  Here is what it is based on.  I’m willing to give it a month.

Is that all?  I think so 🙂  Overall, I like the products and I like how it’s encouraging me to focus more on my nutrition.  I feel it is working quite well with my training goals.  Feel free to comment, if you have any questions that I didn’t cover!

(Nuts, I didn’t get talk about the the AMPED performance line.  I think that will have to wait until another post)


Review: Isagenix and Marathon Training

Today I finished my first 30 days with Isagenix. I’ve alluded to it on Facebook and Instagram but I’ve kept a bit quiet until I could see what it was all about.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Isagenix is a nutritional support program.  The model I follow has a protein shake for breakfast and lunch, morning and afternoon snacks around 100-200 calories (I up my calories on heavy training days), and a healthy dinner that’s around 500 calories.  There are also two sets of two “cleanses” where you just consume the company’s products and are in a semi-fasted state for 48 hours.  For me, day one of the cleanse days were easy but the second was a bit of a struggle because I was still running around 5 miles.

Like I said, I just finished my first 30 day program and I’m pleased with my results.  I have lost  10.6 lbs and 15″.  The bulk of the pounds were lost in the first week but most of the inches were lost in the last two weeks.  I have not had my body comp calculated but those changes clearly show that I’ve been gaining muscle while dropping fat!  While my visual results aren’t crazy impressive, I can see a difference and – bonus – pants that were almost too tight to zip at the start of the month are now quite loose!

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30 day progress

I think I was eating fairly healthy before starting this program but, really,  I was allowing a lot of junk in and I was not as meticulous about planning my meals as I should have been.  It wasn’t unusual for me to find myself starving when I got home, eating handfuls of this and that, and then never eating a real dinner.  Not good.  With Isagenix, I plan every meal and every snack and log it on MyFitnessPal.  Before, this would have kicked off some unhealthy attitudes but I haven’t had any problems with my mental game this past month.  I’m also really enjoying finding and sharing new recipes!

Since I am marathon training, I do eat more than the standard plan.  I try to eat back about half of my exercise calories but that means an extra piece of Ezekiel bread with raw almond butter and maybe a smidge of honey.  Not a big bagel with extra cream cheese!

I am also a migraine sufferer (since I was 7) and I know my diet affects my migraines but I easily “slip off the wagon”.  Since I have been on this program, I have only had one bout of a headache and that was after eating two (planned) pieces of pizza at a work function.  That kicked off a headache that then hung on for a few days as a weather front moved through.  Other than that, I have taken zero medication for headaches or even body aches.

Another big, and surprising, benefit came on my cleanse days.  I’ve been dealing with a ton of chronic pain in my lower back and hips and would have to get up in the night to take Advil or use aspercreme with lidocaine so I could try to sleep.  When I started doing the cleanses, the pain totally disappeared!  Since I haven’t done a cleanse in two weeks, the pain is starting the creep back in just a bit so I am looking forward to my next cleanse on Monday!

One kind of big tweak I did was to add in extra protein to my shakes.  They do have a “pro” line that has extra protein but a) it is more expensive and b) my initial package only had the regular shakes.  No problem, though! I just added two tablespoons of dry egg whites or collagen (not gelatin so it does not thicken anything) to my morning and lunch shakes!  Instant protein 🙂

The shakes themselves are quite good!  Not too sweet, no weird after taste, and if you mix in your blender with ice, they become quite thick!  There are a bunch of “recipes” to change the flavor but I’m too lazy so I just use them as-is.  I wasn’t sure how they would work with my finicky stomach so I chose regular whey protein as well as some dairy-free flavors. I use the dairy-free at work since they are in packets but the regular ones don’t bother me at all so I will be just using straight whey from now on.

One thing that has taken some time to get used to is the Ionix Supreme.  It is basically a “tonic” that you take every morning that has extra vitamins in it and is to help with stress and fatigue.  Some people love it.  They dilute it in water and have it either cold or warm, like a tea.  For me, it is a necessary evil so I just slam my 1 oz shot every morning and follow it with a tall glass of water!

This is getting pretty long so I’m going to save the cost, their “fuel” line (AMPED), and what I’m doing next for tomorrow.

** I am not going to turn this into an all-Isagenix, all the time blog. It was hard for me to find honest feedback before I started the program so that is why I am posting this.  That said, if you want to try it, I can totally hook you up 😉 **

Plans for 2017


I don’t make resolutions because I always break them.  Instead, I like to make goals and plans.  It may be totally semantics but, whatever.

My first goal is to move more during the day. I think a lot of my problems with my hamstring is from sitting in my office chair so much.  I’ve changed to sitting on an exercise ball but I still need to get up more. (Speaking of sitting on an exercise ball, there’s just no graceful way to pivot on one of those, is there?  Any time I have to move from my computer to the front of the desk to greet someone, it’s very… awkward…)

My second goal is to cover 2,017 miles in 2017!  I joined the Run the Edge challenge and am super excited!  I know that I can’t run all those miles but, related to goal 1, I can walk and do other things!  I am now walking two miles almost every day at lunch and a mile or two at night, if I have time.  I have already covered a total of 40 miles this week!

My third goal is to lose some tonnage so running isn’t so hard on my body.  I think goals 1 and 2 will help but I’ve decided to give Isagenix a try – don’t worry, I’m not selling it – and am on day 3.  The basic plan, for those who don’t know, is a shake in the morning and one at lunch plus 2, 100 calorie snacks during the day and a dinner of about 500-600 calories, with the goal that all food be “clean” and whole food.  There are two, 2-day “cleanse” days which have limited food during the 30 days but I haven’t gotten to them yet.  So far, it’s going okay.  I’m upping my calories by having a bit extra snacks due to my training (for example, an extra handful of almonds before my swim yesterday) and I feel fine.  I’ll give more of a review later, if I think it’s worth it.

My fourth goal is to find the joy in running again.  I think I lost that in the second half of last year when I was chasing my elusive time goals.  I’m hoping Blue Ridge works it’s magic again for me this year and I can run happy!

Speaking of Blue Ridge, it was getting tedious printing out the training plan a bit at a time so here’s the spreadsheet of the master plan in an Excel spreadsheet. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you!  brm-training-2017

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your 2017 is amazing!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to follow along as I work on my 4 goals!

Blue Ridge Training Plan, wks 2-3

See previous weeks here:

Weeks 1-2

Here is the plan for this week and next. I’m sorry I’m posting a bit late but Christmas kind of ate the weekend! Check out Week 1-2 for an explanation of the cross-training, etc. The only new thing is a 3-mile, hilly run with negative splits in week 3.  That’s just a three mile run with each mile a bit faster than the previous one.  Just remember, the key is to be a bit conservative with your first mile 🙂  This run will become progressively longer as the plan goes on so you want to practice not dying from the start!


My biggest surprise from the training cycle thus far is my lack of core strength!  I took a tabata boot camp class on Friday for my cross training, since I had a bit more time in the morning, and I was excessively sore for two days and can still feel some of my muscles!  Whoa!  I’m going to try it again this Friday.  And then hope to run my fastest four miler on Saturday night.  This should be good 🙂

Have you started training yet?  How’s it going?  I tell you, starting a training plan the week of Christmas was one of my least brilliant ideas but I think it all sorted out okay!

Winners and Blue Ridge Marathon Training Plan wks 1-2

First off, I have some winners to announce! The grand prize was a free race entry to Blue Ridge, second place was a cute mountain necklace, and third place is some BR swag. I wish I could give race entries to everyone!  But, if you didn’t get it, you can still use BRMFRIENDS to receive 15% off your entry.  Everyone has been contacted.  Thanks for playing along!


Now, on to training!  If anyone feels like joining me, here is my training plan for weeks 1 and 2. I’ll post at least a week ahead so you have time to plan.  The Blue Ridge Marathon is listed as the toughest road marathon in the US because of the 3 mountains that we climb: Roanoke Mountain, Mill Mountain (with the star), and Peakwood.  If you are training for this, hit the hills hard and try to up your core work!  Here’s my plan, in a nutshell:


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This plan follows a Sunday start to the week

The optional cross training on Mondays is Planks, Bridges, Russian Twists, pikes, etc. 20-30 mins – there are several core-centric plans online that you can follow. See Runner’s World for good ideas. Remember to roll!

The cross-training on Wednesdays is boot camp, HIIT, PiYo, plyometrics, etc. 30-45 minutes.  Choose dynamic exercise that work on stability as well as strength.  Remember to roll! This is in addition to a short run so, ideally, you should do an easy run before the cross-training.

The cross-training on Fridays is swimming, spinning, elliptical, stair climber, etc. 30-45 minutes. Choose exercises that will work on endurance without excessively fatiguing your legs (don’t do all the time on a stair climber!)  Remember to roll!

The runs on Saturdays should be faster, closer to your race pace.  The runs on Sundays should be as hilly as you can find and 30-60 seconds slower than race pace.

Hill repeats are, basically, to find a nice hill that is long and a fairly decent incline.  Push up at a steady pace, crest the hill and go 5 steps past the crest before jogging down for recovery.  Later in the plan you can practice declining repeats where you go easy uphill and let it loose on the downhills.  Remember to include about a mile warm up and cool down.  These workouts translate well to the treadmill. If you don’t feel like repeats, make it a progressive hill run on a treadmill – keep cranking the incline until you are maxed out and power hiking for a bit and then use the decline, if your ‘mill has that feature, and practice blowing down the hills.

For a short tempo run, warm up for a mile at an easy pace and then do the rest of the time at your 10K pace.  Follow up with at least a half mile cool down, if you have time. These are also great treadmill workouts.

Giveaway! Blue Ridge Marathon Race Entry


Training for Blue Ridge starts in one week!  To celebrate, I’m giving a way one entry to the marathon, double marathon (!), half marathon, or 10K (your choice!).

Runner up will receive a cute mountain necklace that totally reminds me of the marathon course.



And the third winner will receive a set of Blue Ridge shoe laces.

Also, starting next week, I’ll be starting a series of posts about my training (I will post my training plan for the week on Mondays, in case anyone wants to follow my plan, too), tips about the race, and other information about Roanoke.

Don’t wait!  The contest is only open one week!

*I have this entry as part of being a race ambassador.  Other prizes are provided by me.  Only new registrants are eligible for the race entry, sorry!  If you don’t win, you can still receive a 15% discount on your entry by using code BRMFRIENDS

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blue Ridge RA.jpg

December Reset: Week 1


I’m one week into my reset so I thought I would give a little update on how it’s going.

1. Walk at lunch at least 3 times a week.  Score: Goose egg.  I have not walked at all during lunch in the past week.  I finally remembered to bring a pair of walking shoes today but I can feel the excuses building already.

2. Engage in at least one group exercise activity a week.  I got in two group activities this week! Once was an impromptu spin session on Friday and the second was part of a group run on Wednesday.  I’m not sure I can count that as I was running *near* others but not actually *with* anyone.  I was close enough to hear conversation, though, so I think I’ll count it.  It was the runner’s version of parallel play.  Is it possible to be lonely and anti-social at the same time?  I seem to hit that combo quite often.

3. Complete 1,600 miles for the year.  I will not likely complete this.  I needed to run 35 miles a week for the rest of the year to get it and I only managed 16 this past week.  I’m not too broken up about this.  As one of my BRFs said, our goal should be to “be more awesome than last year” – in that case, double check!

4. Do a modified Whole 30.  Mostly good.  I had to do a massive baking session on Saturday and did end up sampling a bit but I haven’t been sneaking extra bites and I ignored an entire Costco cake at one of the THREE retirement parties we had this week at work.  Bonus: I’ve lost 3 lbs!  I know, it’s water, but still nice to see.  I would love to lose 4 more before the month is done but I know my body hangs on to every last ounce so I’m not too set on it.  I need to be careful, too, because I’m getting weird with food again.  I wound up not eating dinner last night because I was paralyzed over what to eat (after I realized too late we were out of spaghetti sauce so I couldn’t make the baked spaghetti squash casserole I was planning on).  I wound up eating a banana and a packet of Justin’s Almond Butter with Honey before bed.  Not ideal

5. Add magnesium back into my diet.  100% – I have been having magnesium every day and am up to full dose.  I’ll know in a few weeks if it will help with my PMS anxiety and migraine cycle.  I hope so because I’m getting pretty tired of it.

Overall, I think things are going well and I feel more centered.  I’m also feeling more optimistic about this next training cycle and am looking forward to having a non-goals race with friends.

Speaking of training….  Monday will be 19 weeks until the Blue Ridge Marathon (or half, or 10K or 1 miler – or double marathon, if you’re nuts!)  Stay tuned because I will be giving away one free race entry to the distance of your choice!!!  I will also be kicking off an All Things Blue Ridge series of posts that you’ll want to catch if you’re thinking of running next year.

December Hard Reset


I’m still alive.  I am working on my race report from the Richmond Marathon and it is taking for-ev-er!  Also, with a busy second half of November, loss of daylight, and other “stuff” going on, I’m finding myself slipping into my annual December slump.  This month kills me every year – and not always for the same reasons. I’m trying a new approach to even things out this year, though. A little preemptive strike, if you will.

It’s always risky to try “challenge” events during heavy social months but I think this is the best way for me to approach the month.  Tomorrow is December 1 and, from then until December 24, I plan to to do the following:

1. Walk at lunch at least 3 times a week.  I find myself chained to my desk for the entire day and that is not healthy.  I will walk at least 20 minutes, at least three times a week.  If the weather is decent, I will up the frequency.

2. Engage in at least one group exercise activity a week.  With my marathon training on hold for a few more weeks, my exercise schedule has been spotty, at best.  It has also been very lonely.  I plan to join at least one group activity (either a group run or cross training) a week.

So sad

3. Complete 1,600 miles for the year.  I’m currently at 1,466.  By the 24th, I plan to have only a reasonable amount of miles left for the month.

4. Do a modified Whole 30.  I’ll drop added sugar and processed foods but I won’t be super militant about every tiny ingredient. For, perfect is the enemy of good.  I’ll be more along the line of cutting out Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s and no more bites of my kid’s meals.  Oh, and if you haven’t tried it yet, don’t even bother trying Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe Ice Cream.  It’s horrible.  Honest!  😉

5. Add magnesium back into my diet.  I started adding some this morning.  I think it will help with my mood and my migraines.  If you decided to try it, too, just be careful to start with a super small (1/2 tsp) dose or you will have stomach problems.

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My supplement of choice

So, that’s my Big 5 for the reset.  Nothing too crazy.  Nothing unmanageable.  I plan to check in here once a week, to let you know how it’s going.

How are you handling the holiday stress?  Are you planning some sort of “reset” of your own?