My Running Mantra

March 27, 2013

Ever heard the term that running is 80% mental and 20% physical? Just about every runner hears this at some point – whether it is while training for an event, during a race, or even after you have finished a race. The only real way to understand this is to get through a tough run or race, and have to use it in practice.

I remember first time I really dealt with the mental toughness of running – I was doing a track workout at UCF, where I ran in college. We were doing 28×200, with a 200 jog, at 37 seconds. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that workout. It was tough, and I really thought I was not going to be able to finish the workout. However, I knew that was not in my coach’s plans. It was up to her to have me finish it.

She always told me that I could handle the workouts. I just need to buckle down and conquer each repeat. I needed to believe in myself. From all of that coaching, I figured out the racing mantra during that workout that I have been using now for years.



This couldn’t be more true. In the past two half marathons that I have recently PR’d in, I told myself this many times throughout the race.

When my legs were burning like crazy…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I have someone holding onto my back so tight, and I just can’t seem to drop them…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I just want to slow down, because it would be so much easier…

I am stronger than I think I am.

This holds true to every runner out there. You can push your body so much further, faster and harder than you ever imagined. The moment that it starts getting tough, push a little bit harder – that is the moment that you will start to improve.

Moments in life that are easy aren’t worth working for. The ones that give you the challenge are the ones you will always remember.

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!