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Running with Soul: Meet Karolynh (#15)

How many years have you been running? 
I began running competitively in high school, which was many moons ago and didn't take it up again until 2012. 

Little bit about yourself: 
In a nutshell: I bake, run, and laugh! I'm a baker of vegan cupcakes, I run for fun (I absolutely love runcations), and I find laughter in almost everything. 

Who or what inspires you to run? 
I love the feeling running gives me: free and happy. Also, the running community is just so supportive and great that I can't help but get my butt out the door and go for a run.
What is your running mantra? 
"Enjoy the journey and reach that damn finish line." ---> created by me, just now. Haha!

What is your favorite running/fitness blog? 
I absolutely love Shut Up + Run. She is just so hilarious and keeps it real.

What has been your most memorable race? 
I have two: LA Marathon 2013 and SF Marathon 2013. LA Marathon is memorable because it was my first and I ran for my friend who, I'm sure, gave me strength when I lost it between miles 18-23. SF Marathon is also memorable because I couldn't believe I ran ANOTHER marathon after my first AND I PR'd. That was the race that made me realize I'd be running forever.
What is your dream race? (Besides Boston) Besides Boston?! 
Probably Rome.
What one piece of running gear can you not live without? 
I really can't pick just one because these two save me tremendously: massage stick and Body Glide. They keep me from going crazy pre, during, and post race.

If you could share any words of advice/encouragement to a new runner, what would it be? 
Find the joy in running: join a running group, mix up your fitness routine, and don't worry too much about time/comparison. I guarantee you'll have so much more fun that way. 

 Be sure to follow Karolynh on her journey!
A huge thanks to Karolyn for participating in this series!

Check back each Monday 9 am CST as another runner shares their journey of running with soul!


Running with Soul: Meet Sue (#14)

How many years have you been running? 
19 years

Little bit about yourself:
My name is Sue and I am a 37 year old mom to two little boys, a military/pilot’s wife, and a Pediatric Intensive care nurse! I am an Air Force Veteran and spent 6 years on Active Duty.  I am originally from the Boston area and am a HUGE Red Sox fan!  I like to dabble in a lot of things but mainly I love to bake cupcakes and RUN!  I host a blog called This Mama Runs for Cupcakes and a Facebook page . I have been running for almost 20 years. For a long time I ran to stay in shape and used it as a form of cardio. I have always been pretty athletic.  For years I ran a handful of 5K’s here and there for fun but was never really concerned about improving my skill or getting better until I ran my first half marathon in 2007.

My running took a back burner when I got pregnant with my first child in 2008 and then I actually took about a 4 year hiatus after my family and I moved to Colorado.  My body did not adjust to the elevation and the hills very well at all.  A little under 2 years ago we moved to the DC area so my husband could attend a military university.  At this time I had had my second child and was really wanting/needing to get back into shape.  And it was amazing, I could breathe back at sea level and that was the start of me getting my running legs back!  I started a local chapter of a running group called Moms Run This Town and I haven’t looked back.  Running has become my passion, my sanity, my “me” time and my reflecting time. To date I have run 6 Half Marathons, a handful of 5 and 10 milers, and just completed my greatest accomplishment yet, my first marathon!!

Who or what inspires you to run? 
I have several sources of inspiration. My number one inspiration is my children.  They inspire me to be a better mommy and make me want to be the best role model that I can be. I want to instill healthy living values and the importance of being healthy and making healthy choices.  I hope that by watching me it will help to teach them the importance of being disciplined and that with hard work, you really can achieve anything that you want.  I want to be able to chase them around on the playground, play soccer or baseball with them as they get older and in turn be able to do that with my grandkids as well! In addition, the mamas that I run with in my running group, Moms RUN This Town also Inspire me. I have seen women who had never even run a 5K go from completing couch to 5K and in a year complete a marathon. They are truly inspirational and help me get out the door some days that I just dont' want to!

What is your running mantra? 
Don't run away from OVER them!

What is your favorite running/fitness blog? 
One of my favorite running/fitness blogs is Trading in My Heels( I started following Karen for a while before I started my own blog, she inspired me to start mine!

What has been your most memorable race? 
My most memorable race was my first marathon, the Marine Corp Marathon.

What is your dream race? (Besides Boston) 
I would love to run the Paris or London Marathon

What are you currently training for? 
Currently I'm training for the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA.

What one piece of running gear can you not live without? 
My 110% compression knickers/tights

If you could share any words of advice/encouragement to a new runner, what would it be? 
Run your own race and don't compare yourself to others. Your run is YOUR run!

Be sure to follow Sue on her journey!

Huge thanks to Sue for participating in this series!

Be sure to check back each Monday 9 am CST as another runner shares their journey of running with soul.


Anyone crossing their fingers to win the lottery?

Hi All!

The week is half way over and we are almost home free! I have been procrastinating on packing for my trip to Texas this weekend for Rock 'n' Roll Dallas. The bag will pack itself eventually, I hope!

I wanted to check in on everyone to see how my fellow runners are handling all this lottery hoopla!

I mean some of us are patiently waiting for the email and credit card charge from the Marine Corps Marathon.

Others got in those last minute entries into the New York City Marathon (since the lottery closed at 11:59 EST last night)! To which we will be refreshing constantly for notification on March 26th!

Then there are ones impatiently waiting for the lottery to open for the Chicago Marathon at 12 pm CST TODAY! 

Oh and in not lottery news, the new Disney Avengers Super Heros Half Marathon registration opened for Annual Pass-holders today! Don't worry all other folks can register March 25th at 12 pm EST!

Needless to say it is a crazy registration day in the running world!

Good luck to all! I head off to Texas Saturday and excited to see all of you in Dallas! 

P.S. I will be running with #TeamSpree this weekend. More details to come!

Happy Running!

Who got into MCM?

Will one of these three be your first marathon?


Energybits Review & Giveaway

A while back the awesome team from Energybits sent me a sample to give a test run! 

If aren't familiar with Energybits, here is some awesome information!

ENERGYbits is a new Boston based sports nutrition company. Our “bits” are rapidly becoming the fuel of choice for athletes and people looking to lead active lifestyles. ENERGYbits have the highest concentration of protein in the world and deliver a steady stream of energy, all naturally and all without sugar, caffeine, chemicals or stomach distress. Even better, ENERGYbits are the only protein in the world that also contain natural antioxidants and Omega 3 which reduce muscle inflammation, iron which prevents fatigue, chlorophyll which builds the immune system and electrolytes which replenish mineral imbalances, all for just one calorie per tab. No other protein offers all this.

They are pretty small and manageable! One of the huge draws of Energybits are the ingredients. 

ENERGYbits are all natural too, because they are a food, not a supplement. They have just one ingredient - 100% organically grown spirulina algae. Algae has been used by Olympic athletes for over 50 years, but is still virtually unknown in the USA and Canada. We are the first company to bring algae to national attention as a high protein, high performance snack food for athletes and active consumers. 

My experience was pretty great! Prior to a 10 mile snow training run and a half marathon I swallowed my bits. I will admit I was worried mainly due to my ultra sensitive tummy. I was thrilled to get through both runs without an upset stomach and never hit the wall. I felt strong and had more in the tank to keep on going! If you haven't given these bad boys a try, I highly recommend them! 

The only downside of these would definitely be the price. Since I spend majority of my running budget on races, travel and shoes; I would need a discount every time to order these. 

Want to give them a try?

Energybits has offered to send one reader their own sample!

Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

ENERGYbits are only available at, and Jonathan (their Brand Manager) has shared with me that he'd be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits - you can email him at

Contest only open to U.S. residents. Winner will be notified within 24 hours of contest ending. Winner forfeits prize if a response isn't received in winning email within 48 hours. Energybits provided the sample for review and giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Motivation Monday: Take pride in yourself

Happy Monday All!

Did you conquer any obstacles this weekend?

The long run?

The half marathon?

Your longest or fastest training run?

I don’t know about you, but when I see some of my favorite bloggers/runners talking about completing their 19 mile long run, I am shocked. Not only have they conquered the run but that do it with an average pace of 8:08 per mile.

What is that and where can I get it?

I am sure I am not the only one intimidated to post how excited I am to get in a 4 mile training run under a 14:00 per mile pace. Heck, I have friends who can run faster paces and they don’t train like me.

But let’s be real… THEY ARE NOT ME! I am my own runner and my effort will not be diminished. I will run 8 miles and stop for walk breaks and be proud. Every step we take to break through our comfort zone should be celebrated. Don’t let your mind and what others may be accomplishing, keep you from being proud. We are all working hard each day to push our bodies and you are a rock star!

I will high five and bow down to runners like Run with Jess, Run Eat Repeat, and Nadia the Runner! They are inspirations to us all!

Just remember they didn’t wake up one day running 10 mile easy runs in an hour. They took pride in every workout and never gave up!

Running with Soul: Meet Amy (#13)

How many years have you been running? 
2 years

Little bit about yourself: 
I was previously almost 250 pounds. I finally decided to do something about my weight and began to slowly change the way I ate. After losing over 50 pounds, I knew I needed to begin some time of exercise. I began a program that incorporated kettlebells and simply walking every day. My walks slowly became faster until one day I began running, for about 5 seconds. Running did not (does not) come easily for me. But it is something I have grown to love and appreciate, even if I do still hate it. It's a complicated relationship. I have since branched out into cycling which naturally led me to do triathlons. 

Who or what inspires you to run? 
I am inspired to run by the shear challenge of it. I love putting myself to the test every day and conquering something I never thought I could. When I look back on who I used to be, I am amazed that I am able to run one complete mile, something I was unable to do in high school, much less a half marathon. I am motivated by that fat girl who never even dreamed of being able to accomplish the physical challenges of running, cycling, yoga or triathlon. Every time I line up for a new race I am in awe that I am able to do what I do. The sense of accomplishment when I complete each new challenge keeps me coming back for more and pushing myself farther than I thought possible.

What is your running mantra?
Just keep moving! (a la Dori of Finding Nemo)

What is your favorite running/fitness blog?
Because work has been very busy lately, I haven't had a lot of free time to read as many blogs (or write) as I would like to. However, one of my favorites is Runs for Cookies ( I love how honest and real she is about her struggle with weight.

What has been your most memorable race?
My most memorable has to be my first half marathon. For months my husband pushed me to do a half ironman. I was extremely timid about signing up for a race of that length. Because of this I compromised and told him I would have to try a half marathon before I tried a half ironman. I researched one that was relatively flat for my first experience and chose Rock N Roll San Diego. 

I trained for months before. When my training pushed into the double digits, I began to have difficulty with my knee. Then two weeks before the race I was forced to stop running completely in order to allow my knee time to heal. I showed up to the race extremely nervous about not just my knee but my ability to finish the race. However, I was determined to finish. As I stood at the start line, I couldn't believe how far I had come from that fat girl who was unable to run a few feet. 

I was able to finish the race in a decent amount of time. The sense of accomplishment I felt was unbelievable. Being a person who previously loathed running and refused to do it in any way, this was a major accomplishment for me, one I never dreamed I would even attempt much less finish.

What is your dream race? (Besides Boston)
Any Disneyland race. I would really love to do the Coast to Coast challenge.

What are you currently training for?
Right now I'm not training for any particular race. I recently began a new training program that focuses more on weights than cardio. Starting in January, I will begin training for a sprint reverse triathlon, which happens to be the first triathlon I did a few years back.

What one piece of running gear can you not live without?
A good pair of earbuds. I love having my music while I run. I hate having my earbuds constantly slipping out of my ears. So I love my yurbuds. They are great!

If you could share any words of advice/encouragement to a new runner, what would it be?
You can do it! It doesn't matter how slow you run. It doesn't matter how far you run. Simply getting out there and running is all that really matters. If you put the time and effort into it you will get faster, it will get easier. Like most things in life you get what you put into it.

Be sure to follow Amy on her journey!

Huge thanks to Amy for participating in this series! 

Check back each week, Monday 9 am CST, as another runner shares their journey of running with soul!


Motivation Monday: Conquer the impossible

Happy Monday everyone!

Fall 2012, I started my journey by running to a mailbox on my street and turning around. The total distance was a mile and what felt like the longest mile in the world. Some days I would huff and puff as I hobbled to the mailbox. Other days I would think, “This is crazy, I can’t run”.

March 2014, I have raced and finished 11 5K’s, 1 10K and 3 half marathons! I have a 2014 goal to run 17 half marathons and 2 Ragnar Relays! Plus I will be running my first marathon in February 2015! Some days I forget about those days running to the mailbox, thinking I couldn’t do this anymore.

To everyone who ever thought it was impossible, you are wrong!

Set one foot in front of the other and start your journey. 

Running with Soul: Meet Cynthia (#12)

Hi, I'm Cynthia. As a kid, my family and friends called me Cindy but I haven't gone by that in years aside from with family and longtime friends! I'll still answer to it but it might take me a minute.

How many years have you been running? 
10 years (as of Fall 2013)

Little bit about yourself: 
I'm a mom of three little kids, and I work full-time in arts management. I live in the suburbs of Washington, DC but work downtown. I'm passionate about the arts, my family, and anything active. I travel quite a bit within the US and also internationally for work (and sometimes for fun), and love to take pictures as I run through various cities on my travels.

Who or what inspires you to run?
I am inspired by goals - I like to sign up for a challenge and that helps me focus and gets me out there day after day. If I don't have a goal, I still work out but I don't feel as driven. I'm also inspired by seeing and feeling myself get stronger and fitter all the time - I love the effect of the running! I've lost over 30 pounds this year through all my hard work.

What is your running mantra?
It depends on the circumstances, but on any long run I can be seen (if you look closely) repeating to myself: "Your body is a machine" - for some reason that gets me into a zone like nothing else.

What is your favorite running/fitness blog?
I have so many these days! I'm a new triathlete, so I have been enjoying various triathlon blogs, and of course those all have a lot of running in them too. I listed a few of my favorites recently on a Friday Five here:

What has been your most memorable race?
My most memorable running race was my first marathon, the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, FL in 2005 (then called the Bank of America Marathon). I had gotten in shape and lost weight I had been carrying for years, and felt amazing. I trained with a group and loved the community aspect of running. I finished strong and felt great about my finish time of 4:17. At the finish line I said I couldn't wait to do that again!

What is your dream race? (Besides Boston)
I would love to do another marathon next year, and am looking towards a half Ironman (70.3) in 2015. Both of these things take a lot of time and intensity to train for, so I hope that I can fit them into my busy life. I don't have the particular races picked out yet.

What are you currently training for?
I'm signed up for the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge in February, but I ended up having surgery in December and am going to just be getting back to running a few weeks before that. I'm not sure I'll be able to adequately prepare for that distance in three weeks, so I will likely have to defer for medical reasons until 2015. It's a tough decision. So right now, nothing because I'm not allowed to run, but I am mapping out my 2014 race plan and have already signed up for my first Olympic distance triathlon for September 2014.

What one piece of running gear can you not live without?
My running stroller. I would not have gotten through the last 7 years without it!

If you could share any words of advice/encouragement to a new runner, what would it be?
Build up your mileage slowly and your body will adjust to the endurance aspect of running. I still feel as though the first mile or two of many runs is hard, and then I hit a groove after mile 2.5 and feel like I could keep going for a long time. So don't count yourself out for longer distances based on how you feel right now - keep at it and it does get easier!

Be sure to follow Cynthia on her journey!

Big thanks to Cynthia!

Check back each Monday at 9 am CST as another runner shares their journey of running with soul. 


Motivation Monday: I am strong

Happy Monday everyone!

I will be the first to admit that the journey isn't easy. Each day I struggle with my food choices, my energy to exercise and my motivation. I look back to a year ago and realize how far I have fallen back into old habits.

But, I will not give up! I am not defined by yesterday. I am not going to let my weaknesses dictate who I am. I am a strong.

Each day is an opportunity, don’t waste it. 


We are strong. We are fighters.

Running with Soul: Meet Cori (#11)

Name/Nickname: Cori is my real name but I’m often referred to as Olive.

How many years have you been running? 

Since February 2009, so I’m coming up on 5 years.

Little bit about yourself:

 I am a marathoner, half ironman in training, Girls on the Run coach, and a big kid at heart. I teach little kids by day and find myself behind the screen at Olive to Run at night blogging about training, fitness, education, and a whole lot of randomness. I grew up playing sports but didn’t start running until 2009 in an effort to regain my fitness. Since then, running has become an essential part of my lifestyle and is also the activity that brought me to my husband Ben, also known as the Popeye to my Olive.

Who or what inspires you to run? 

I am inspired by my students every single day to promote an active and HEALTHY lifestyle.  I think it’s important to model to others and educate them at a young age.

What is your running mantra?

 “I can and I WILL.”

What is your favorite running/fitness blog? 

I wish I could say I have just one but I don’t. I look to a number of blogs for various reasons.

What has been your most memorable race? 

I have to go with the first race I ever signed up for- a ten mile race in my hometown. I was running for about four months at that point and prior to signing up I was averaging 5-6 miles each run. The teacher I was working with for my student teaching was a cross country runner growing up and she challenged me to sign up for the ten mile race. I had NO idea if I was going to be able to accomplish it but I ran the entire race at a pretty decent time. It’s safe to say, I was hooked.

What is your dream race? (Besides Boston) 

I can’t give you a specific name for a race that I dream about running but I will explain the perfect, dream race in my mind to you… I picture it being in the mountains, the majority of it being alongside water. There are some people but not a huge crowd base, the sun shining but the temperature holds on in the low 60’s. I see a few runners in front, I hear a few runners behind me, but I am running alone. Apparently my dream race is an ultra… :)

What are you currently training for? 

 I have the ZOOMA Florida ½ in January, Rock and Roll Raleigh and Blue Ridge Half Marathon in April, and a ½ Ironman in June- all in 2014.

What one piece of running gear can you not live without? 

My BROOKS running shoes- Pure Flows are my favorite.

If you could share any words of advice/encouragement to a new runner, what would it be? 

Be patient, and remember that the “bad runs” typically teach the strongest lessons.

Be sure to follow Cori on here journey here:

Big thanks to Cori! 

Check out the final 8 weeks of the Running with Soul series each Monday morning at 9 am CST!