The Launch of Fitness Fruition

May 10, 2013

For all of my friends and family, my apologies for somewhat drilling this into your head. Now, I can finally release it all to the world!

I mentioned last week that I am in the process of making fitness my full-time job. Well, as of yesterday, the back-end work was done and I could finally start sharing my new company! Drum roll please….

Green Black Horizontal Fitness Fruition

 

Fitness Fruition is the name of my company, and encompasses striving for a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying life. I want it to be a place people can come and have a reliable source for exercise and running training. I actually came up with the name last year when I was running the Nashville Marathon (the only good thing to come out of that race!), which means it took me a year to actually implement my idea – kind crazy!

So what does this mean for the blog? Honestly, the only thing that is going to change here is the two headers above, coaching and training, will now redirect to Fitness Fruition. Otherwise, everything will be exactly the same – 3 times a week posting schedule, plenty of running talk, not enough recipes, and sharing my fitness life with you all.

On the Fitness Fruition site, you will find all of my current services, including running coaching, in person personal training, virtual personal training, and bootcamps! If you have the chance, please head over and like Fitness Fruition’s Facebook Page, as well as the Twitter page. I am working on growing both of these social channels, and would love your help in getting there!

Green Black Box Fitness Fruition

One thing I want to mention is the design of my amazing logo! I have a friend who is the most amazing graphic designer. I really didn’t even know what I wanted, but I described my vision and goals for the company to Patrick, and he came back with this logo. I am so incredibly pleased with it, and really feel that it encompasses everything I (didn’t know) that I wanted! If you are looking for an amazing brand creator, please contact Patrick. You will not be disappointed!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions! Thanks in advance for your support! Head on over to Fitness Fruition to see what it is all about!

My Top 5 Ab Shredding Exercises

May 8, 2013

We all know that abs are made in the kitchen, but having a strong core has many benefits – the biggest being a reduction in injury. Low back pain plagues more people than any other issue, and a strong core helps to reduce this – a rocking 6-pack sure doesn’t hurt either ;). As always, it is important to keep your core tight while doing any type of exercise, as it helps to stabilize your body and protect your back. Believe it or not, you are working out your abs just by stabilizing them! Here are my top 5 ab exercises that generate the biggest results!

Ab Exercises

1. Side Plank with Pulse

We all know and love to hate the plank, but the side plank doesn’t get quite enough love. Roll over onto your side with one arm on the ground, and the other on your hip. Make sure your body is in a straight line, with your hips not sagging. Then, hold your plank and do small pulses to really engage your obliques. Start with 30 seconds of holding, and then work up from there. Don’t forget to switch sides!

2. Bicycles

Of all the ab exercises out there, I feel that I have been doing bicycles the longest. They are great for isolation, and work multiple parts of the core. Lay on your back, with your legs bent and your hands behind your head. Slowly start moving your legs as if you are on a bicycle, then have your elbow meet the opposite knee. Switch sides & repeat. The slower you move with this one, the more difficult it becomes.

Bicycles Abs

 

Photo via realsimple.com

3. Leg Raises

These are always hard for me. You can do this in either a captain chair at the gym, or just hanging from a pull-up bat. Start by hanging on the device of your choosing. Bring your legs up perpendicular to your body, and hold them straight while doing them. Lower them down, but be sure to do this controlled. Repeat. If you aren’t able to keep your legs straight, go ahead and bend them, and work up to the straight leg. It isn’t easy, but it works those lower abs that tend to get neglected!

4. Hip Thigh Raise

This is another great exercise the requires no flexion, so it is great for people with back issues. Lay on your back, with both knees bent, feet on the ground. Lift your hips so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Straighten out one of your legs, but keep both knees parallel (this will keep you from lifting your leg too high and sinking your hips). Switch legs, but be sure to keep your hips elevated the entire time.

Hip thigh raisePhoto via Active.com

5. V-Up with Stability Ball

This is a twist on the standard v-up with a bit of resistance added in. If you have low back problem, I would stay away from this one. It does isolate the low back a bit, and you wouldn’t want to put too much stress on it. Start laying down on your back, with a large stability ball between your feet. Raise your feet and arms towards one another (like a V), and grab the stability from your feet. Lower back down. Repeat, but this time, the ball will go from your hands to your feet. Cycle through this as many times as your body will let you.

 Do you incorporate abs when you go to the gym? What are your favorite exercises?

The 2013 Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge

May 6, 2013

By having this blog, it is pretty obvious that health and fitness is a HUGE part of my life. That’s a no brainer. It’s not only important to me, but also to Marcus. When we decided to get a dog, one thing that we knew was most important was getting her regular exercise, consisting of long walks, lots of running, and plenty of fetch. Lucky for Winnie, her friends over at Purina Pro Plan noticed her love for staying active, and invited her and a few guests to the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge!

Purina Dog Challenge

The event was held over in St. Petersburg at Spa Beach, about 30 minutes from our house. Once we picked up our friend Meg, we headed over for a fun morning of spectating multiple competitions: agility, diving dog, Jack Russell Hurdle Racing, 30 Weave Up and Back , and the Freestyle Flying Disc. Purina was nice enough to give us media passes, so we had access to the competitor tent, which included catered food and drinks, along with less crowded spectating areas. We also got up close and personal with the competitors.

Purina Pro PlanThe first event we were able to see was the agility competition. This is the event that I most relate to dog events. The dogs jumped over hurdles, climbed up a-frame towers, weaved around poles, and went through tubes. Seeing the handlers guide the dogs along the course was pretty impressive. The dogs were so obedient and were waiting for the handler’s every command. Each dog was given 2 rounds to get the best score, which included doing a clean run in the shortest amount of time. I couldn’t help but smile the entire time. The dogs were so cute, and looked like they were having so much fun! Check out the short clip below – I have no idea what happened to the audio – but you get the picture 😉

The next event was the diving dog competition, which I was looking forward to the most. The dogs had a small runway to gain some speed, and then they jumped in a big pool, chasing after a toy their handler knew they loved.

Purina Pro Plan Dog

Purina Pro Plan

 Here is a quick video for the diving dog competition. My apologies for the somewhat bad quality. I was standing in the splash zone, and quickly had to move my phone before getting completely soaked my the pup’s big splash.

The next event was Jack Russell Hurdle racing. I wasn’t sure what the expect with this event, but I am sure glad we caught it! Groups of dogs were loaded into crates. Once the race started, the gate was lifted and the dogs just took off after a stuffed toy for them to chase. The goal was to get from one side to the other, jumping over hurdles in between. Once multiple rounds were held, the winners from each round went head to tail in the final race. Just look at the speed of these little guys (and girls!)

By this time, Winnie was a bit over the entire scene, so we decided to head out. We missed the last couple of events, but still had an absolutely awesome day!

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan

If you ever get a chance to go to a dog challenge, I highly recommend it! It will put an instant smile on your face!

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan

Purina Pro Plan Challenge

Have you ever been to a competition like this? Would you ever go if you had the chance?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, or for going to the event, but I was given a few passes. All thoughts and opinions on these adorable pups are my own. 

Exploring Louisville

May 3, 2013

One of the best parts about running any sort of race out-of-town is exploring the city! I have a feeling that I will never run in a “boring” place, because the exploration is almost like a reward after pounding the pavement for hours on end. The Kentucky Derby Marathon is held in Louisville, Kentucky. It truly is an amazing city!

Now, I have been there more times than I can count – my dad’s entire family lives there, including 5 siblings and all of their kids. It is quite the crew when we all get together and most of our trips have always revolved around visiting family. While this is something we did on this trip as well, we also were able to get out a bit and explore parts of the city we hadn’t seen too much of in the past.

Louisville has a lot of history dating back centuries – from bourbon to baseball bats, the city is deep in southern culture. One of the best parts of running the Kentucky Derby Marathon is that is held during the Kentucky Derby Festival, which is a few week-long affair that leads up to the Running of the Roses – the Kentucky Derby.

Churchill Downs, where the derby is held every year, held its opening night the Saturday night of the race. While I have been to see a horse race, Marcus hasn’t, so we took the opportunity and headed to check out some night racing. The rain that was supposed to hit during the race held off until the night, which unfortunately, meant that we ended up standing in some rain while waiting for the horses. My aunt and uncle own part of a horse, so we were given the opportunity to head out onto the paddock, the location the horses and jockeys prepare for their races. It was pretty awesome to actually be able to go out and see what everything is all about – even if we were getting soaked!

Churchill Downs Marcus was given a quick lesson from my uncle on betting on horse races, and then we headed up to make our bet and catch the race we were there to see!

Churchill Downs

Churchill DownsUnfortunately, the horse we were there to see did not come in the top spot. However, I think Marcus is hooked! It is such a rush for the couple of minutes you are cheering on your pick, and is so much fun. I have a feeling we will be coming back in the future – if not for the horse racing, then for the mint juleps and lilies! 😉

Churchill Downs

My cousins also gave us a nice driving tour of the city on Sunday afternoon, so we could check out all of the different neighborhoods and fun spots. We went through some beautiful parks, saw the amazing renovation of the riverwalk, and even stopped on Market Street in NuLu for a yummy cocktail at Garage Bar! This place looked like the ultimate place to hang during the summer and nicer months of the year. The vibe was unmatched, the drinks were spectacular, and there were even homemade (incredibly cool) ping pong tables! It was a great way to unwind on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy some great company.

Garage Bar Louisville

Garage Bar LouisvilleI really haven’t even scratched the surface on all of the fun things there are to do in Louisville. The people are incredibly friendly and it really is an amazing, southern city. If you ever get the chance to go, I strongly recommend you do so! You wont be disappointed!  But shhhh…. let’s keep this between us. We don’t want everyone knowing what a great place Louisville is! 😉

Anyone else like to travel to races and explore the city? Have you ever visited Louisville?

Thoughts on Finishing a Marathon

May 1, 2013

There is something that has been on my mind that I want to share with you all, and get your thoughts on as well. It has to do with race finishing times.

Ok, so here it goes. This past Saturday morning, I was running one heck of a marathon. I was hitting consistent splits, my legs were feeling strong, and I really thought I was going to go sub 3:35 for the Boston Qualifying time. I was completely on pace for it, and then the last set of hills came. They were just difficult enough that it slowed my pace down just a bit, and was enough to send me over the 3:35 mark. When I crossed the finish line, and saw the time on my watch, my first reaction was a bit different than I originally portrayed in my recap.

I was disappointed. I was upset.

I stood right at the finishing line, leaning over the barricade, trying to catch my breath, taking in the last 3.5 hours of running. I came into the race with pretty solid training, but very minimal speed training. I did approximately 6 temp runs throughout my training, but really didn’t do much more. I kept my runs around 8:30 pace, so I was used to being in that 8 minute range. I still felt like I needed to go a little bit faster though. But why?

Kentucky Derby Marathon

As runners, most of us have a dream, a goal, or even a hope, to make it to the big race in Boston. It is the elite event of all races. I made it back in 2011, when the qualifying times were different. I had to run a 3:40 back then. Now, I am required to run a 3:35:00 or faster. I feel as if I need to re-prove myself to get there again, as if there is an asterisk by my name that says, no, she didn’t make it based on today’s standards.

After I caught my breath and started the slow hobble to grab my medal, I realized how absolutely absurd I was being. I had just run my second fastest marathon ever. I fought through some killer hills that I had not even trained for. I kept a very consistent pace, and never backed down. My mind and body stayed strong the entire race, and not once did I even consider giving up. I had just killed that race, and found myself in a completely different spot than I was just a few minutes before.

I was proud. I was thrilled with my accomplishment.

So what that I didn’t BQ at the Kentucky Derby Marathon. I’ll do it again some day – that day just wasn’t April 27th, 2013. It doesn’t make me any more or less of a runner, or any less worthy of lining up at the start in Hopkinton. It makes me a runner, who is proud of the day she ran 26.2 miles in Louisville, Kentucky. It makes me a runner who is stronger than ever, knowing my mind overcame the aches in my body. It makes me a runner who will not back down – who may or may not make it to Boston again. And you know what, I am a-ok with that. There is no way I am going to let the qualifying time of one race overshadow the last 4 months of training – the early morning wake ups, the battle scars of a long run, and the pure joy of accomplishing something huge – finishing another marathon.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Next time you finish a race, and aren’t thrilled at first with your finishing time, think of how far you have come, where you have been, and where you are going. Hopefully that will put your amazing accomplishment into a more joyous perspective.