Social Fresh East 2013

March 26, 2013

Attending conferences in a subject that interests you is one of the best and most effective ways to learn valuable, cutting edge information. Having one of these conferences in your hometown is an even bigger bonus.

On April 18th and 19th, Tampa is the host of Social Fresh East, a social media conference being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Tampa Westshore (4500 West Cypress Street). It is a two day conference that starts around 11 on the first day, and heads straight through the evening on Friday the 19th. Their sessions are limited to just one speaker at a time, rather than the standard conference tracks of 2-3 speakers, and of course, has only 1 track. According to their website, 95% of past attendees would recommend the conference to others. I would say that is a pretty great track record!

Expanding my knowledge to get better at my job, along with getting great new ideas in the social realm is hands down the reason that I am heading Social Fresh. I really can’t beat the fact that is in my backyard either. ūüėČ

Social Fresh East

The Speakers

The conference features 15 of the industry’s brightest social media professionals, and I am very excited to see a few people in particular speak. Here are my top 3:

Adam Kmiec is Director, Global Digital Marketing and Social Media at The Campbell Soup Company. He is responsible for developing a global digital marketing and social media strategy that encompasses both consumer-facing¬†and corporate initiatives to make Campbell one of the most digitally fit organizations in the world. Adam is speaking in the session “Building an Insights Driven Social Media Organization“, which focuses on driving results, rather than just likes.

Morgan Johnston is the Corporate Communication Manager for JetBlue Airways. He leads both internal and external communications focusing on online/new media applications and is in charge of JetBlue’s social media efforts including Twitter, online video, and community efforts. In Morgan’s session, “Learn How to Leverage the Voice of the Customer“, he¬†shares the lessons JetBlue has learned in building their award-winning social media program over the last several years. If you have ever travelled with Jet Blue or interacted with them on social media, then you can understand why I want to learn more about their program. Spoiler – its pretty awesome!

Chris Tuff, SVP – Director of Earned and Emerging Media at local ad agency 22squared, was one of the first marketers to work directly with Facebook, back in 2005. Chris brings his eight years of digital marketing experience and six years of social media experience to help lead the social media team. His session, Breaking Through the Clutter: Using Content, Analytics, and Paid to Achieve ROIsquared, looks like a session that I will be able to really learn a lot from. It is a bit more advanced than some of my current knowledge, so I am really looking forward to learning some more, valuable information.

For my full-time position, I plan conferences similar to Social Fresh – the one track atmosphere, intimate setting, and amazing speakers. Those three aspects are really what makes conferences amazing. I had the same experience last summer at Healthy Living Summit in Boston, and just can’t recommend it enough. I can’t wait to check out another conference in my industry, and learn some incredible valuable information while I am there!

Social Fresh is a social media education company whose goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media.




Are you heading to Social Fresh? Let me know and I would love to meet up!

Long Run Pear Power Smoothie

March 25, 2013

I tackled the first 20  mile long run of my training plan this past weekend. Sometimes they are hard, sometimes they are relatively painless. Saturday was a tough one. My legs were tired by mile 7, which has never happened before. I am thinking that it had a bit to do with the fact that I raced the weekend before, and my legs were still just a bit tired.

This is why we do these type of long runs – not only to prepare our bodies, but also to prepare our minds when the runs get tough, and all you really want to do is finish. And finish I did – nice and early so that I didn’t lose the majority of the day!

20 mile long run

One of the big side effects that I have found with long runs is that I just can’t eat right after. Putting my body through 3 hours of straight exercise really put a bit of stress on my digestive system, so a small meal is great post run to refuel, and then I load up with a big meal a few hours later. Saturday, I went for the pear power smoothie!

Green smoothie

1 banana

1 pear

1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt

handful of ice

handful of spinach

1/2 cup of your choice of milk

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Blend all of the ingredients together and you have a great post run treat! If the 1/2 cup of milk isn’t enough, add however much liquid is needed to get it all moving. This was a great way for me to get some fast calories after pounding the pavement for 20 miles, and even better – it tastes sooo good!

Do you eat a bit meal after long runs? Or do you need to wait a little bit before you refuel? What is your favorite post run meal?


The Tampa Corporate 5k

March 22, 2013
Tampa Bay Corporate 5k

One of the things I loved most when I lived in Orlando for the four years that I was at UCF was the running scene. There is a very well established running store, Track Shack, that has an awesome running series each year. Their events are all very well executed – they start on time, have great awards – they really just know how to pull of a great race.

One thing that Tampa lacks is that running hub. Don’t get me wrong – we have a ton of road races. But none that are in the same type of series like track shack does – all different race distances, locations, the works. One of the great events that Track Shack hosts is the IOA Corporate 5k. This race is held each year in mid April, and it touted as Orlando’s biggest office party.

Lucky for us, Tampa is following in Orlando’s footsteps this year – looks like we have our own Tampa Corporate 5k!

Tampa Bay Corporate 5k

On April 11th, downtown Tampa will be embracing the corporate culture and hosting an amazing group of runner for the very first corporate 5k! Straight from their website –> “Held exclusively for Florida‚Äôs corporate community; businesses and non-profit organizations form teams and participate in the Corporate 5k for camaraderie, friendly competition and celebrating with co-workers”.¬†The race doesn’t start until 7pm, so there is no excuse to not participate. You can walk, run, or even crawl across the finish line!

My office is putting together a team and taking it to the streets! It’s been a while since I have ran a 5k, but I am really looking forward to this event!.My coworkers all know how to have a blast and I can’t wait for them to experience this race.

If you are in the Tampa area, be sure to sign up as well. There are over 500 people that have already registered. How high do you think we can get that number?!

Do you have a Corporate 5k in your city? Have you ever participated? Would you want to?

My Heart Rate Monitor Search

March 20, 2013

Ever since I ran the Chicago Marathon back in October, I have been GPS-less while running. My Garmin died on me at mile 5 (ya, seriously), and I have yet to replace it. I was going to go ahead with the Garmin Forerunner 10 a few months ago, but kept holding off. It is Garmin’s no frills version of their watches – while that may work for some people, I felt like it was a little bit too minimal for me. And so the search continues…

I have to be honest – I haven’t been doing that much research on watches. I just know that I am not necessarily hooked on going with Garmin again. My watch was only a year and a half old, and just died out of nowhere. Not exactly what I want to have happen when I spend a good chunk of change on a sport specific watch. I am however, open to trying a new kind of device – more specifically, one with a heart rate monitor (HRM).

Training with a HRM boasts multiple benefits, including training smarter (not harder) as well as reaching your maximum training potential, which is something most people don’t even know they have. Everything from your age, body composition, and gait make up how fast you are going to run, so using a HRM is a very accurate way of pinpointing exactly what your body can (and can’t) take on a certain day. I have looked at a few GPS/HRM combos and would love your input as to which one I should get. My preference is something with strong battery life, lightweight, and has multiple sport settings.

Timex Ironman Run Trainer 2.0


Timex GPS & HRM


This watch has a nice, 8 hour battery life on full GPS, so even marathons can withstand use of the watch. There is also a really nice display that can be seen in high and low lighting, and interval timers –> I love those for workouts! This watch has audible and vibration alerts, which would be so awesome. Less looking at a watch is the best way to train, hands down. I haven’t head much about Timex GPS/heart rate watches, but I am very interested in this one! It was just released, so I would love to see some reviews and feedback on it.

Polar USA RCX3


 Polar HRM GPS


Polar, in my mind, is the leading heart rate monitor company. They are incredibly established, and were some of the first people in the HRM space. I like the sleek design, and the many features it offers as well – multiple sport function, instant feedback, and GPS function.

Garmin 110 with HRM

Garmin 110 HRM


This watch would probably be the least drastic change out of all the watches since I have had two Garmins in the past. This has the functions of my old Garmin, but also has the heart rate component. It is the lowest price our off all 3, but I am also a bit hesitant since my old watch died, and I don’t want that happening again.

Which one should I get??!! If you have any of these, I would love your feedback, along with likes/dislikes, etc. No matter how big or small, your opinion will greatly help!

One last thing….

Today marks 2 years since I married Marcus! It has been an amazing start to our marriage, and I fall more and more in love with him every day. I can’t believe how quickly this past year flew by and can’t wait for what the future holds! 2013 will be the best year yet.

Wedding 2

Wedding 27

Let me know about your tips for a great heart rate monitor. I could really use the help!

Florida Beaches Halfathon

March 18, 2013
Florida Halfathon

I’d say the luck of the Irish was with me this weekend! Only 3 weeks after my Gasparilla Half Marathon PR, I was able to get a new personal best in the Florida Beach Halfathon yesterday! I woke up around 5am and had a 45 minute drive ahead of me to Fort Desoto. It is one of my favorite beaches to go relax at for a beach day, and this would be my first time running a big race there (other than the Top Gun Triathlon last year). I met up with a few lovely ladies before the race, we chatted a bit about our race plans, and then all headed to the start.

Fort Desoto Halfathon

The race started exactly on time at 7:05am – always appreciated! I took off those first few miles a bit quick, much faster than I would have liked. I decided I might as well just try to hold on, and see how it went. Not exactly a race strategy, but I honestly had nothing to lose.

Florida Halfathon

I’ve been big about experimenting with my mental toughness lately, and this was a perfect way to test a few theories I have been working on. The sun was just rising as we went through the first 5k, which I loved! The beach (or the mountains!) is my favorite place to catch a sunrise, and Fort Desoto didn’t disappoint!

Fort Desoto Halfathon

The course is an out and back route. It’s scenic, flat, but pretty dang boring at that. I can just zone out and not really focus on what’s around me, so I didn’t mind. If you need things to keep your entertained, this isn’t the race for you. Spectators are minimal, and there are really only about 5-6 turns, including a few in a parking lot.

Florida Halfathon

I was keeping up fine with the fast pace, until I hit mile 6. I started to get a bit lazy, and was just in a rhythm that was starting to get stale. I had to dig down and snap myself out of my funk. Luckily, I was able to – in the past, I’ve definitely had a problem with this. I really do think that with the more races I run, the better I get at this point of the race. There really is a lot to be said about getting as much experience as possible racing, to race well.

The turn around was right before the 8 mile mark. We got a quick view of the sun glowing on Sunshine Skyway, and we headed back for the final stretch – the final stretch of 5 miles.

Florida Halfathon

¬†I was running with a solid pack of people for a good portion of the race. One woman decided to pass me at mile 9, so I went ahead and stuck on her hip for a couple of miles. I figured I might as well give it a shot, or I was probably going to fall off. At this point, the race was hard. I was pushing myself, but I was doing fine. Racing isn’t supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be rewarding, and I wanted the end reward!

I was able to stay with the same person like I wanted to, and eventually, I was able to pass her. A lot of people who start to kick too early get frustrated when they pass someone, and that person (me) is able to stay with them. It helped in this situation, as I didn’t see her again. The last 3 miles went by quick. I was picking people off and making them my target to pass. I was able to pass 4 very consistent female runners in the last 5k, and a countless number of male runners.



I wasn’t able to speed up the last mile as much as I would have liked, but I literally gave it everything I had. I felt like I was absolutely sprinting the past 2k or so. It hurt, and I was incredibly ready to be finished at this point. Luckily, I had a couple tiny turns to go, and then the finish line was mine. I can only imagine how silly I looked during the last .1 of the race. I was sporting an ugly face for sure! But it was worth it – I earned myself some shiny new bling – my coveted reward!


Florida Halfathon

And of course, since it was a festive occasions, the race organizers hooked us up with some goodies!

Florida Halfathon

Green beer! I only had a few sips because 1. I needed water 2. I’m not a huge beer fan, green or not. But it was still fun to have ūüėČ

The rest of the girls finished a few minutes after I did, and nearly everyone earned a shiny new PR! Meg was nursing a hip injury, and I am pretty darn impressed that she pushed through the race. She was hurting but still was holding impressive splits. Meghan got her fastest time by almost a full 2 minutes, Megan (another one!) finished under 1:45, and Tori crossed the finish line in her first ever sub two-hour race!! There were smiles all around!

Florida Halfathon

Congrats on a big day for PR’s for everyone that raced this weekend. I saw a lot of fun tweets and updates announcing so much success this weekend – I’m looking at you Ashley, Theodora, and Anne! Wooo hooo!!

And for my finish time – the final results aren’t posted yet, but I did use my own watch that I started and stopped right when I crossed both the start and the finish line. I’ll take it ;0)

Florida Halfathon


How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Did you race? How did it go?