Posts Tagged ‘ Running ’

Fitness Friday!

Winter is upon us.

The trees are leafless, the ground is frost covered, and the air is crisp with the smell of fire and snow. Now is the perfect time to get out your outdoor winter gear and enjoy the cold weather. Despite the fact that the cold sometimes burns my lungs, I would much rather run in colder weather than hot weather. I’ve been collecting winter running gear over the years and am happy with what I now have as I always feel comfortable during a chilly run.

If you are wanting to run outside, but don’t know where to start, here are some essential items I would recommend*:

Hat – Having a warm head is important not only to keep your ears warm, but keeping your head covered is a surefire way to stave off sickness. My fav is my black Smartwool beanie. Soft, warm and wicking!



Gloves – I have to admit I normally go cheap with these and just pick up those two packs of black one-size-fits-all gloves from Target or somewhere akin. Reason is I’d rather spend the extra dough on a jacket that has inside hand covers that allow you to tuck your hands within an inner sleeve layer. My hands always stay nice and toasty!



Jacket – My favorite jacket is my bright blue Nike Element Thermal jacket with its inside sleeve pockets to tuck my hands into and it’s thumb holes for when my hands start warming up. It’s full zip and has a zipper on the sleeve to store a key or cash. I am a big fan of Nike for many reasons one of which being that their clothes often have reflective decals on them that are subtle but effective in the darker days of winter!




Base layer – A wicking base layer is important to keep sweat from your body so you don’t start shivering while you run. I love my long sleeved Nike Miler Base Layer shirt just for those reasons.




Pants – Not everyone love spandex or is comfortable running in them. I love them because they don’t inhibit my running and they are super-warm! My favs are the Nike (yes, I’m obsessed) Element Windless Women’s Running Tights as they (as the name implies) don’t allow drafts and have a pocket tucked inside the back for an ipod, key, or cash.




Socks – Love the Smartwool when it comes to my feet! My toes tend to get really, really cold very fast and I need socks that will wick away moisture so I don’t get blisters while still insulating. I have a range of these (just choose ones that fit your running needs) from thinner and lower to taller and thicker.




Shoes – Whatever shoe fits your foot the best you can use during the winter (for the most part). If it’s icy I throw on a pair of Yak-Trax over my sneaks and I’m good to go.





* I live on the East Coast where winters tend to range from 30s and lower with snow and ice. No temperate climate and no negative wind chills!

When buying any running gear I HIGHLY recommend utilizing the wisdom and support of your local running store. Not only will they offer great discounts on quality brands, but they are very knowledgeable as they are runners themselves.

REMEMBER – Be safe and run on lit roads with reflective gear and always let someone know where you’re going. Happy trails! 🙂

Fitness Friday!

You’ve finally come down from your endorphin high after running your Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. Now you’re on the hunt to find another equally exciting and good-spirited race to run in December or January. Well, you’ve come to the right place!

For those looking for carefree races to participate in, this is the perfect season for them. Despite the drop in temperatures, runners everywhere are shucking their turkey hats for elf ears and jingle bells. My favorite runs for December are sometimes called Jingle Bell Runs or Christmas Dashes, but all possess that insouciant atmosphere.

Here are some great races for December and one for January (as well as some clutch links):

Pensacola Christmas DashPensacola, FL – This one mile evening event is fun for the whole family. Every participant receives a blinking LED elf hat and finishers are awarded a 10-inch candy cane!

Jingle Jog 5-K – Atlanta, GA – Music will follow you as all runners receive bells to wear on their running shoes. Beware of “Grinch” hill at mile two and then stay for the postrace festivities.

Boxing Day 10-Miler – Hamilton, Ontario – For those of you who like a chilly challenge, sign up for this 90 year Canadian race. Beware snow and negative wind chill numbers, but warm up postrace at Slainte Irish Pub. Finishers get snowman medals and mittens with snowman logos. Cool!

Resolution Run – Hillsborough, NJ – I ran this one for the first time last year and LOVED it! Racers run down bicycle lanes and through neighborhoods where bundled up families stand in their driveways to cheer you on. Prizes for top placed runners and postrace food and water. Best part? The awesome hooded sweatshirt you get just for signing up! They change designs and colors each year, so I’m planning on building my collection. 🙂

For more info on races near you, check out: Holiday and Resolution Runs

Runner’s World

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Fitness Friday!

It’s getting close to that time! Turkey Trot time!

I recently posted on why I love Turkey Trots, so if you want to read that blog click HERE.

The reason I’m posting again so soon on my favorite race of the year is that I thought some of you might like a list of great Turkey Trots to check out. These races are held around the country and chances are there’s one near you, so check out my last blog to do a general search.

A List of Great Turkey Trots

Parade Company Turkey TrotThis race has been a Detroit staple for the past 28 years and boasts both a costume and a race float contest (think big running Chinese dragon). It offers a 10K, 5K, and 1 mile “Mashed Potato” run.

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot – Lauded as one of the largest Turkey Trots in the country, this Dallas race now draws thousands Thanksgiving morning. With a 5K run/walk and an 8 mile option as well as costumes, prizes, and big after race entertainment it’s the perfect choice! Also, sign up cost goes to support Dallas area YMCAs and with Dallas being one of the most obese cities in the world, it needs the help!

YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot – This 8K first began in 1896 making it the oldest continually running race in the country. More than 12,000 runners come out to race and enjoy the post-run awards ceremony and live entertainment.

Dana Point Turkey Trot – Race along the beaches of southern California with the 5K or 10K run. Not only is the locale a perfect reason to sign up for this huge event, but proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Fitness Friday!

I love Turkey Trots.

I especially love the Turkey Trot where my parents live in which I have been running for the past five or so years. The course goes on a cart path around a local golf course past fields and trees. It never feels like the 3.1 miles (5k) that it is because the energy is always buzzing with excitement. When I first started running this race there were maybe fifty people who ran. It was fun but definitely more subdued. Last year there were probably two hundred plus people there. Some were in costumes, some were serious runners, some were with their young children or families, but everyone was looking to have a good time. It was great! 🙂

For you first-timers out there, a Turkey Trot is a race that’s held early Thanksgiving morning. It’s a perfect way to start the day as you are most likely destined to spend the rest of it with family eating until you’re as stuffed as that turkey was. Running this race always puts me in a great mood and I feel like I’m burning off all those calories I’m noshing on the rest of the day!

To find a trot near you check out Runner’s World or Active’s Turkey Trot finder.

Run on my friends!

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Making a Difference

As many of you probably already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It seems like the world is painted with pink in recognition of this worthy cause. The purpose behind all the pink is to increase awareness about breast cancer from screenings to research to risk factors and prevention.

There are a lot of races all over the U.S. that are dedicated to raising money and support for Susan G. Komen called Race for a Cure. One of my favorite aspects of racing is that all of the races I’ve run help to raise money for one worth cause or another. You can even start a race of your own if you have a cause that you want to help support. (This is one of my goals in life – to organize a race for a non-profit organization.)

A local spa is helping out by putting pink hair extensions in people’s hair for $10 a strand. They are donating all proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. I’ve already made my appointment. 🙂

I don’t know if you’re like me, but sometimes I feel like there are so many worthy causes and I only have so much time and money to give that I feel like I can never do quite enough. But ultimately every person and every effort counts. Even if all someone can do is donate time to help pass out cups of water to runners during a race, it makes a difference. So this month I challenge you to find one thing (or more) you can do to help make a positive difference in this world.

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Fitness Friday!

I have to say that one of my favorite things about being a runner is getting to eat carbs without feeling guilty. 🙂 It’s important to have a healthy diet to that balances your workouts. You need to find foods that provide elements like vitamins, carbs, healthy fats, and proteins. I’m constantly reading Runner’s World and scouring vegetarian and healthy cookbooks for great recipes and foods that will give me energy and strength I need to be fit. It’s a big topic and one I’ll revisit since there’s just too much info to cram into one blog. And I’m always learning something new that I try to fit into my diet.

Most recently it’s been my desire to move away from processed foods. Not easy. I realize this will be a long road of little changes along the way, but as long as I’m moving in that direction I feel it will lead to healthier eating habits.

I’ve started making little things like granola and protein smoothies and have gradually added more baking to my repertoire, most notably – bread! Mmmm…Homemade bread is perfect for any number of tasty meals – french toast, any number of sandwiches and paninis or just as a side for a steaming bowl of soup, salad or pasta. Yum! My most recent bread was a whole wheat bread, but I’ve made the classic white and a yummy cinnamon raisin.

I’ve included links to my favorite bread recipes below:

Homemade White Bread/Homemade Wheat Bread – I use the same recipe for both and just substitute wheat flour for white flour as it is such a great recipe!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I also was reading the October issue of Runner’s World and came across a series of wonderful (and more importantly simple) recipes for homemade pasta sauces and dishes. Click HERE for a link to the article and for a link to the recipes click HERE.

Now all I need is a pasta machine and a bigger kitchen and I’m golden! 🙂

Do you have a favorite healthy homemade recipe?

Fitness Friday!

Welcome to Fitness Friday!

I’m dedicating every Friday to something fitness related whether it be training, event related, nutrition or just a topic I find interesting. I’m also going to answer any questions you ask. You can ask through this blog or just email me at runnersami[at]hotmail[dot]com.

I’ve been interesting in fitness all my life. About ten years ago, I got really serious about being healthy and since then have done research on the best ways to accomplish that. It’s always a work in progress as I am constantly learning new ways to be fit, but I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been. Fitness isn’t just about working out and staying in good physical shape, it’s about making sure all aspects of your life are healthy. That means keeping mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit too.

I will also be posting any pertinent links to articles, websites or events in my blog on Fridays as I find them.

This week, as we are entering into a very popular time of year to run races, especially marathons and half-marathons, I wanted to post a few food runs that I found in Fitness magazine that I thought were funny.

1. Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon – October 2,, Run the half and stay for the after-party during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.

2. Hershey Half Marathon – October 3,, For all those chocoholics who need a little incentive to run there’s a Chocolate Aid station that helps you reach the finish line.

3. Portland Marathon – October 10,, Grab a cold pint at mile 21, then run at your own risk. This city boasts 32 breweries which makes for a perfect race location for beer lovers.

4. Krispy Kreme Challenge – February 2011,, The most vomit-inspired race I’ve ever heard of – runners head from the NC State University Memorial Bell Tower to the nearest Krispy Kreme (2 miles), devour a DOZEN, then head back in under an hour – YIKES!

Have you ever heard of any weird races or run in one?

Until next Fitness Friday – Runner Sami

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Gotta love Mondays! It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by the great and wonderful Sheila at Book Journey. Head over and check it out!

This week I’ve been started a couple new books of the urban fantasy/paranormal genre and I threw in a couple non-fiction too! I need to hurry or else I may need to postpone finishing these books because Mockingjay comes out tomorrow!! Very exciting 🙂

Labyrinth by Kat Richardson – I have been reading Richardson since she first came out with her Greywalker series. She is a great writer and I love her strong, female protagonist Harper. Readers follow Harper as she comes into her gifts and the subsequent dangerous situations they lead her into. Harper has the ability to walk into a kind of layer between realities and this not only allows her to see things differently than anyone else, but it attracts many strange cases, she’s a PI of sorts, and individuals to her. This latest novel is even more intricate than the previous and strays away from the PI bit and focuses more on Harper’s developing talents and strange occurrences that are leading her down a dangerous path. While I wish Labyrinth was less complicated and more like the earlier novels in the series, I can’t help but become deeply engrosses in this fast paced novel.

The Passage by Justin Cronin – I’ve been waiting to read this for a long time and am excited to finally have it in my possession. Cronin’s tome has been getting a lot of buzz and supposedly it’s already been optioned as a movie. I’ve only just begun, but can tell that I’m going to get lost in the world that Cronin is creating very quickly. His layers of details and descriptions of his characters and places add a tone not unlike the classics of the Brontes or Austin, with the dark depths of Dostoevsky.

Bicycle Maintenance & Repair by Todd Downs – A perfect book for anyone who loves to ride bicycles of any kind and hates to pay the hundred plus dollars it takes to get a tune up at a repair shop. Illustrations and easy to read instructions help even a beginner (ie. me) learn how to work on their bike. This is a library book, but I’m probably going to have invest in my own copy so I can refer back to it as the need arises.

Runner’s World Guide to Injury Prevention by Dagny Scott Barrios – It’s sad that I need this book, but as a runner I am constantly plagued by injuries. I need expert advice on how to not only care for injuries when they do arise, but how to prevent further injuries from happening. This book also guides runners on strength training, stretches, and training to maximize performance and decrease the likelihood of injury. Definitely the best book I’ve ever read for anyone who runs – even if you’ve never been injured!

I’m off to continue working on my second book and the synopsis for my first (oh joy) on this rainy New Jersey Monday. What have you been up to?

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Rails to Trails

New Jersey just keeps surprising me!

Before I moved here, I was like a lot of people (ok, everyone not from NJ) who thought the state was the blight on the face of America. But ever since I moved here, New Jersey has proved me wrong. It’s a quirky little state filled with an overabundance of pride. Where I live in central Jersey, I’m surrounded by green. Parks, farms, fields, playgrounds, and trails are abundant. There’s not a day when I don’t see a mass of brightly colored cyclists or runners or dog-walkers taking advantage of these scenic offerings.

When Alissa stopped by for dinner the other night she mentioned her discovery of an amazing trail close to where she lives. It’s called the Columbia Trail and with it only being a twenty minutes drive from my house, I had to check it out.

The Taylor Steel Workers Historical Greenway is one of many trails that run through scenic areas of NJ. Once a railway, its last freight train ran in 1976 and the trail was built in 1990. It had been in operation since 1876 running iron ore along its lines. There’s a national conservation movement called Rails-to-Trails Conservancy whose goal is to convert old railways into greenways for bikers, runners, walkers, and cross-country skiers to be able to use.

The trail is packed gravel, perfect for running and biking, and is 14 miles out and back. Tall trees shade the trail and a river runs almost the entire length of the trail. It’s an ideal place for my long Sunday runs.

And there must be something magical about the trail too. Everyone is friendly and waves or says hi or good morning. It’s great! Also, there are little treasures along the way too with tiny wooden houses, homemade benches, and even a hidden gnome standing in front of a small door that’s been hinged to the bottom of a tree. I don’t even feel like I’m running half the time because there’s so much to look at and marvel over. 🙂

For more information about Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and trails near you:

More Running Swag that Rocks!

Ever drive down the street in the middle of summer and see some crazy runner pounding the asphalt, waves of heat radiating off the road, buckets of sweat pouring down the poor person’s face? Yup – that’d be me!

But I’m not alone in my humid sadomasochism. Thousands of runners young and old, small and large, men and women, join me around the globe in this ritual. You’ll see us chugging along your streets, kicking dirt up on trails, climbing mountains, and careening down gravel paths on a daily basis. And runners don’t just wait until that perfect sixty degree spring or fall day when the air is crisp and dry and the birds are chirping happy Snow White songs. Nope, even the animals stay inside on days that runners are out, getting in their weekly mileage so they’re not set back in their training goals for that big 5k or half-marathon or marathon or (God help them) the ultra-marathon. From the bitter cold of winter to the hundred degree humidity of the east coast summers, runners brave the elements to reach their goals.

What goal can be worth all that pain, you may ask. That suffering?

Why, we do it for the great swag of course!

Before you think I’m being dirty, swag (also written as schwag) is what runner’s call the sweet rewards that they are given for either a) participating in a race and/or b) finishing said race.

Here are some races you may want to check out if only for the loot:

Lake Balboa Watermelon Run 5k, Van Nuys, CA – First 100 finishers will win a whole watermelon, while all participants get a sweet slice upon finishing. A perfect summer prize!

Oktoberfest 5k, Bethlehem, PA – Runners chose their own start and race to each participating bar along the course. Runners each receive a mug, race t-shirt, and beverages after the race.

Squaw Valley Mountain Run, Lake Tahoe, CA – Another steep run ends in a reward of beer, bagels, cookies, and a country rock-band.

For more races, check out the Runner’s World website. And don’t forget to stay hydrated before, during and after your run!

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