Girls On The Run

I am beyond thrilled to be on my way in completing one of my main marathon goals this year before true training season even begins. Each time I run the Chicago Marathon I am blown away by the support that the entire city shows to the runners. Until you have experienced it yourself you will never truly understand the overwhelming appreciation of complete strangers cheering you on and chanting your name. One of the other unbelievable factors of the day is to see all of the runners supporting charities of their choosing. Did you know that the Chicago Marathon raises over $15 million?!

Each time I have ran the marathon (including this go-around) I have been selected for guaranteed entry – meaning that I do not have to run through a charity in order to participate. It is not about the have to. It is about the want to. Through running my second marathon I learned about the organization called Girls on the Run in Chicago. The more and more I learned about them I knew that if I ever participated in the race again, I would support this organization while doing it.

Now, what is Girls on the Run? GOTR is a nationwide organization, but I will personally be supporting the Chicago sector. A group of amazing women step up as coaches and organize after school programs for girls that focus on teaching them how to be joyful, healthy, and confident. They spend time with these girls each day, over a 10 week program, encouraging them and giving them a safe space to learn how to challenge and appreciate themselves. They even train for a complete a 5k race! Unbelievable.

Now, why does this hit home? One, knowing that these women take time out of their lives to give these girls a safe space to go to after school is enough for me to begin speaking passionately about this. However, the focus of their time – on health, positivity, and being active – just sends it over the top. I say all of the time that I could not imagine being a young girl growing up the way the world is today. I fear that so many young girls spend their days comparing themselves against others and going home after school just to scroll through social media. When I was young we spent all of our time playing and creating outdoors. Heck, in the summer time if we wanted to play board games (always Monopoly) we set up a table in the garage.

My entire life I have been surrounded by the most strong, independent, and successful women. The best parts of me are definitely not self-made. They are a result of the environments and people I have had surrounding me and I am very lucky to have been given those opportunities and relationships. 85% of the girls who participate in this program need and utilize financial assistance in order to participate. If this fundraiser can help even one girl have a safe space and a smile, then it is all most definitely worth it!

Please consider donating to GOTR through my link below!:

Skill vs Will

This past week I had to go through mandatory management training at work. I state it as if it were a chore that should have a big ol’ check box next to it as I quickly move on to the next task. Secretly, though, I majorly geek out for days like this. I learned a lot and I was lucky enough to be surrounded by individuals from the company in groups extremely different from mine. It gave us a chance to attempt to see things from the other side of the lens. Three things, however, were key takeaways for me that I think apply well beyond the corporate environment.

1. All situations can be addressed from two angles, with two different mentalities. Skill or will. To shed some light – does your staff need direct training on the task at hand, or do they need emotional support and reinforcement on the will and healthy mindset of their job in general.

2. The second piece that hit home was the first thing to come out of the instructors mouth, I believe. This was solely meant to be an attention grabber to get everyone super focused and hone in on themselves – and maybe stop chugging their coffee for caffeine support. It was a nudge in the right direction to help us decide to commit to the day. It wasn’t necessarily brought up repetitively, or ever again for that matter, but it definitely did resonate with me. The only thing you should ever focus on changing is YOU.

There is no use in saying that you do not have enough resources, enough people, or enough time. If you believe any of these to be true – rephrase the question. How can you more effectively utilize your resources? How can you get more out of your team? How can you make current tasks more efficient? You see, it all stems with what you do with exactly what you have.

3. What is your superpower? Just like all typical group classes we began the day by going around the room to introduce ourselves. This time, however, we weren’t allowed to say what our title was or what we did in the organization. The only thing he wanted us to share was what we believe we are best at enough to make a difference with it.


All of these tactics translate far beyond the work environment. I hear so many people say that they wish they could do something that they see someone they admire do. Rather than saying I wish I could do what they do – rephrase to a question.

How can I do what they do? What skills do I need to do what they do? Do I currently have those skills, or can I acquire them?

Do I have the will to do what they do? What will motivate me to get there? Am I willing to put in the effort to get the results?

Focus on what you can do. Once you focus in on yourself and determine exactly you need to do for yourself – the rest falls into place. No excuses, no finger pointing, no wishful thinking. Just concrete, attainable, fulfilling aspirations. The best place to start? Figuring out how to utilize your superpowers and those of others!

Just Start

We are women. We plan and we overthink to no end. And I feel like a lot of times we crush our own aspirations before we even let the world or other people do it for us. For some unknown reason we feel like we need to report why we are doing something or why we want something with complete explanations as to how this will be the best use of our time. Honestly, it hinders us. You want to know why? Because we cannot even begin to predict how something that we enjoy today can better us tomorrow. The limits are endless. There is absolutely no guarantee that what you are doing today will make your life better in the long run – so why not chose to do something that puts a smile on your face?

Let’s think about future you. When was the last time you were thankful for a decision you made that got you to where you are standing right now? Could you imagine your life and where you might be standing instead if you didn’t take that leap and make an ordinary (or maybe extraordinary) move?

I guess my point is – why can’t we just start something or just do something because it brings us joy or because it is the next lily pad we can see to jump to? Well, if there is anything I have gained comfort in during the last few weeks it is just that. I wanted to start Outrun Like a Girl to motivate myself through this next year and through the marathon. I also hoped to motivate one or two people along the way with me – and honestly, that would really be enough. I have come to realize that I am going to gain a lot more from this than I thought. After spending a few weeks connecting with girls through their blogs or instablogs I have found such comfort in a community of women who found something they love and are passionate about and just choose to talk about it – to share it. No strings attached. I’m very glad I started.

10 Workout Moves For When You Just Want To Netflix and Chill

Hi all! It’s me with a pre-workout ‘Hello’! With all of the crazy weather we’ve been having in Chicago lately I wanted to share some of my go-to workout moves for a quick session where you don’t even have to leave the ground! You can plop down right in front of your latest Netflix binge, stay out of the cold, and finish this routine in less than 30 minutes with nothing more than a resistance band. This hits on all of my focus areas – butt, lower abs, and hips (very important to support my weak knees)! I am by no means an expert or trainer – just a girl sharing some rainy day tips on a routine that keeps me on track! Some of these movements are my favorites that I’ve taken out of Pure Barre Classes! You should try it for yourself!
Also, please enjoy my dog Tucker’s photo bombing!
Exercise 1
Place the resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees, with your feet and thighs pressed together. Open your knees as wide as you can while, keeping your feet in place, and bring your knees back together. Perform this same movement with your feet hip width and feet slightly wider than your hips with your toes pointed out.
Perform this 50 times for each foot placement.
Exercise 2
Lay on your side with your hips tucked under. Bend your knees and place your knees on the floor. Lift your feet off of the ground behind you and open and close your legs while holding your feet elevated and toes touching. You should feel this right where your hip meets your butt.
Repeat this 25 times on each side.
Exercise 3
Change positions to be all on fours with your hips tucked under and a slight bend in your elbows. Bend and lift one leg to be parallel with the ground while squaring your hips down and then bring it back down to meet your other knee.
Repeat 25 times on each side.
Exercise 4, 5, & 6
-Straighten your leg at hip height straight behind you, tap the floor with your toes, and lift while flexing your butt.
-Bend your leg to 90 degrees with your foot aiming to stamp the ceiling. Stamp your foot upwards by squeezing your behind to initiate the movement – this should be a very small movement.
-Bring your knee in towards your chest and then stamp your foot back up to the ceiling.
Repeat each movement 25 times on each side.
Exercise 7
Straighten your leg behind you and create an ‘M’ shape in the air by raising your leg and lowering to the right then raising your leg and lowering to the left.
Repeat this 25 times.
Exercise 8
Rest back on your elbows with your chest pushed upwards. Extend your legs on the diagonal with your feet wider than your hips, bring your legs together, then pull your legs in.
Repeat this movement 25 times.
Exercise 9
You can complete this routine by wrapping the resistance band around both ankles or adding an ankle weight to your working leg. Lay on your side completely straight as if your back was pressing against a wall. Lift your leg straight up and down. You should feel this in your hip.
Repeat this 25 times on each side.
Exercise 10
Lay on your back with your shoulders slightly off of the floor. Make sure your lower back remains on the ground. Your toes should be touching and knees apart. Lower your legs down to the point of control and lift.
Repeat this 25 times.

Tart Acai Smoothie For Runners

I have an obvious obsession with healthy drinks. Half of my time in the grocery store is spent picking out my new organic on-the-go juices for the week while attempting to make these decisions solely on the ingredients and benefits it will provide without judging a juice by its cover – or really cute bottle. In my spare time I also enjoy concocting combinations that will not only taste great, but will have added benefits for my active lifestyle. See below for the recent success!


  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen assorted berries
  • 2 bananas
  • 4 tbsp acai powder
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 cup Tart Cherry Juice

The Benefits

Fruit – The benefits are obvious! The bananas, in particular, are great for runners due to their ability to assist in relaxing your stressed muscles.

Acai Powder – Great source of antioxidants and boosts brain activity!

Hemp Seeds – Protein super-source! Sourcing all 9 essential amino acids to the body.

Last but not least….

Tart Cherry Juice – This is my secret running ingredient. About three years ago my knee swelled so big that I couldn’t even bend it or fit into any of my jeans. It literally felt like it was going to burst. After several tests of an MRI and CT Scan it was determined that I have PVNS – an issue of inflammation in my knee. In short, they have no idea why it occurs, and worse, why it continues to come back once removed. Ever since then a lot of my focus has been on finding specific workouts targeting my muscles to help support my knee as much as I can. Tart Cherry Juice is just one of the ways I have taken this a step further to focus my meal intake onto my knee strength as well. This juice not only helps runners bounce back much faster by aiding in muscle recovery and soreness, it also targets inflammation in the joints. The liquid in the smoothie above can easily be swapped with simple water or almond milk for a healthy change in consistency, but I try to add this juice into my diet and routines whenever and wherever I can.

The Beauty of Bulletproof Coffee

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that fairy tales aren’t real. I drink a potion made from magic beans every day, and it brings me back to life.
-Nanea Hoffman

If you’re anything like me than we would bond over the fact that mornings are rough – at least during the week. On a weekend – sure! – I can wake up and enjoy the slowness of the empty city streets, but not M-F. Despite this, I try as hard as I can to get in my morning workouts routinely so that I either a. don’t have to feel rushed to leave work later on that evening or b. can come home and enjoy some quality time with my hubb. Actually, let me be honest – quality time will my pupp Tucker. As we all know, the first few days of jumping into a morning workout routine can be tough. Once you make it through the actual non-snoozing of your alarm you also have to battle the increased hunger and afternoon energy crash throughout the day. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial – ‘UNTIL NOW!…’.

My hubb introduced Bulletproof coffee to me several times – when he first heard of it, when he made a trip to the store to pick up all of the necessary ingredients, and finally when he detailed the successes he heard noted from coworkers who added this to their daily routine. Living off of Melanie Whelan’s, CEO of Soul Cycle, theory of if you hear of something three times you need to either try it, eat it, or see it – I tried it! First of all, it tastes DELICIOUS. Like a blended, frothy latte made right in your kitchen with nothing more than a standard blender. Secondly, it honestly and truly works. I had increased energy throughout the entire day which lasted well beyond when I returned back home after working hours. It also cut down on my hunger which is normally through the roof by noon after a workout. Placebo effect? Nope. This has proven true on a repetitive basis. Try it for yourself! Just blend together the three main ingredients noted below, add a bit of cinnamon on top or in the mixture, and TADA!

  • 12 oz. brewed coffee
  • Two tablespoons of MCT Oil
  • Two tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  • Cinnamon to taste – and to make it look fancy
  • Cacao Powder optional (not recommended for your first go-around)

Link below for more details!

I know what you’re thinking…butter?! You heard it right! I am endorsing it! Apparently the fat within the butter prolongs the caffeine spikes that coffee gives us. So rather than needing cup number two or three as an afternoon pick-me-up, your first cup will last you far into the working hours of your day. Until this, I had never deliberately used MCT oil for anything – but the benefits are HUGE! Not only does this stimulate brain activity it also reduces the chance of your stomach growling when your meeting turns quiet for a brief moment. We’ve all been there! Best of all, with keeping your coffee intake to one quality cup a day you can spend the rest of the day hydrating from your early morning sweat session!

Chiberia Winter Running Views

Views on views on views on views.

Chicago’s North Avenue Beach in January – where sand and ice met for a beautiful creation following the record-breaking Chiberia. My butt may have been frozen on a lake glacier to capture this photo, but oh how it was worth it. That is the real beauty of winter running – if you’re brave enough to venture out you will get the chance to see moments others will surely miss.

How Easily the ‘Don’t’ Outweighs the ‘Do’

After two weeks away from the studio I broke the bad habit and ventured back into one of my favorite, healthy addictions –Pure Barre. They say that when starting out it takes eight classes of Pure Barre to really get the hang of it and to start seeing results. After three years of being an addict, I can say that it still takes me about half of that to feel like I can survive the class giving it 100% after too long of a hiatus – and two weeks is too long. The second I walked through the door, however, I felt re-motivated and determined to last through each repetitive movement of the full-body workout that makes every muscle group shake. Icing on the cake – by chance, the instructor for the day was even one of my favorites. Want to know why? Because she says “recommit” a near 51 times throughout the 50 minute endeavor!

For me, it is always the arms that gets me. I can squat, lunge, and sprint all day but the moment it turns to push ups and arm resistance my heart rate goes straight through the roof. Without a doubt the weakest part of my body. Today, as my arms held in a wide o-shape with resistance bands doing what they do best the instructor came on to say that we were halfway through! Almost there! Then she continued to say –

“From here on out keep your arms lifted. Do not let them drop. Remember why you came this morning.”

Sounds motivating, right? Well for me all I heard was “Do not let them drop.” Before that statement I had no intention to let them drop. The increased challenge of the weights was starting to kick in and the burn was causing my biceps to shake – but I had no intention of stopping. Then, I stopped. The pure mention of the possibility that I could stop outweighed all of the positivity in my mind saying I wasn’t planning on it. Within a second. This got me thinking.

One of my main goals in marathon running is to never stop. Doggy paddle on the pavement as much as necessary, but never stop. What if someone in the cheer-squad crowd were to yell ‘YOU CAN WALK NOW!’ as I passed the 20 mile marker? With my mental game hanging on by a thread, would I stop dead in my tracks? Thank goodness cheer squads are actually the most positive reinforces for any runner, and honestly, one of the main reasons we all make it through – but instances like this come in all shapes and sizes when pushing ourselves.

So how do we as runners (or active individuals in general) prevent this positivity overthrow? The first step is knowing that this will come. Be prepared. The second is knowing what thought will offset this mess in an instant. The second you hear your mind going “Hmm…I could stop…” you need a visual to fall back on. Go back to when you set your goals. You wrote it down, right? Or put it as your phone background? Use this. This could be that picture of you in your best shape hanging in your closet or your finisher medal from your first-ever 5k. Maybe it is the thought of your kids who admire you more than anything in the world or that Negative Nancy in your life that told you this goal completion was unlikely. Whatever it is, take some time and figure out what that instant motivation is and have it handy!!

Five Tips For Setting Attainable Running Goals

“I only have one goal in mind”….some of you may have recently thought to yourself. And that’s great! I’m so glad that you have conjured up something worth adding to your list of priorities. Unfortunately, a ‘One Goal’ mentality doesn’t seem to work out for the rest of us like it does the Chicago Blackhawks. No goal can be completed in and of itself – at least not well, I mean. Imagine saying your goal is to run a marathon just to show up in the parade of anxious athletes on the day of only to realize you have had no preparation whatsoever. But the goal was just to run the marathon, right? Nope! The joy of every goal we set for ourselves is that we get to accomplish so much more than what we originally set out to do and that is because we set such high aspirations for ourselves that these goals take time, unique experiences, and a boat load of new knowledge to complete. So let’s get to thinking. How are you going to get from A to B? And then B to Z? You may not know what C-Z stand for right now, but as you do – your perspectives and focuses will change. With that your plan of achievement should change as well. So let’s work on setting goals that will get you to your goal, shall we?

  1. Be long term, then be specific. The road to your end running goal can be a long distance (literally and figuratively). Set your end goal, but establish intermediate goals along the way that will make the task at hand seem more manageable. Rather than only saying ‘I will run a marathon in 6 months’ also say ‘I will run a half marathon in 3 months’. The “little” victories along the way will boost your momentum exponentially.
  2. Reassess and adjust goals at specific time markers along the way. My preference? Daily. I am not saying you need to clear the table and break out the reading glasses and calendar every night after dinner. All I am saying is when you are listening to the Morning Commute Spotify playlist on the El slowly making your way to The Loop as the Brown Line stops every 100 yards, reassess your goal. When you are waiting in an absurd noon-work-rush-hour line to order you Mexicali Bowl from Protein Bar, reassess your goal. It will occur more frequently than you expect that your intermediate goals will need some adjusting. Shifting your timeline and/or priorities is not failing on your intermediate goal. It is creating stronger, more sound, intermediate goals to achieve the end game you set out to seek.
  3. Set a goal for each important aspect of the larger goal. It is not enough to say “I will complete a marathon”. Think about the HOW you will complete a marathon. What will you consume and how much? When will you rest and how often? How will you track your progress? Be sure to add in here: What will make you enjoy this process? To illustrate – ‘After each long training run I complete I will add 5 songs to my day-of-marathon-playlist that inspired me.’ You might be thinking “That’s a goal?!”. It sure is. And I guarantee those are the types of goals that make the difference in the long run (see what I did there?).
  4. Pick the best training plan….for you! Do not simply google ‘Best 10K training plan’ and take that as bible. You are way too unique for that. Do your research. Ask others who have completed training. Try some out. Switch them out. Will you run in a group setting? Will you run solo? How many times a week will you run? How many times a week will you have a strength workout? Listen to your body. In reality, sometimes the best training plan is the one completely created by you. However, if you are just starting out – be open to trying different paths already forged. Feel it out and adjust your goals based on what makes you feel best. During my first marathon my goal was to increase my mile count by one each Saturday starting two months before the big day (a goal I promise you was based on one individual’s perspective I read in passing and dubbed it as gold). It proved to be too much! I got injured and I wasn’t able to give my mind enough time to crave the distance again. My second time around I increased my mileage count by two every other Saturday and my body – and mind! – responded much better. Prime example of how simple knowledge being added to your plan can cause drastically better results.
  5. Give yourself a reward outside of accomplishing the goal. Have a little fun with it! If you run your first half marathon in under two hours you get to go on the weekend camping trip at the end of the summer. If you drink your body weight in ounces of water everyday for a month then your husband is going to take you to that new, hard-to-get-into sushi place for dinner. If you finish your first marathon, you get a puppy (NOW WE’RE TALKING!). Goals are not chores. Goals stem from great aspirations and ideas you came up with to better yourself – treat them as such!

Committing To Your Running Goals

The Chicago Marathon 2019 will mark my third marathon overall – all taking place in the city that I love most. In 2016 this endeavor began as a bucket list item – running 26 miles (don’t forget about the .2) when I was 26 years old and crossing a marathon off of my list as one of my greatest accomplishments. Throughout training for my first marathon I was exhausted and anxious while putting way too much pressure on myself. I had convinced myself (and others) that this was going to be a one time occurrence only. Well, that all changed the moment I conquered the dreaded uphill turn into Grant Park and crossed the finish line for the very first time. I signed up for my next marathon before I was even fully recovered from the first. I found a special kind of love in marathon running, and more importantly, I found a new level of commitment to myself in the training.

There really is something to be said about dedicating 4+ months to push yourself to limits you never thought were even possible. To wake up before the sun at 4:00 in the morning and complete a double digit run before anyone you know has even had their alarm clock go off. What is even more rewarding is the fact that once accomplished I find myself saying things like “Oh, I only have to run 15 miles?” Only 15 miles?! What on earth?! But it is true with everything in life – it only sounds impossible until you do it.

The key to all of this, however, starts before one foot even hits the pavement. It starts before you even jet off to pick your new pair training shoes or designate your favorite route. Training begins the second you commit to a goal you set for yourself. THIS IS KEY. It is far too easy for us to get excited over a new adventure just to start it and stop it all in the same breath. That is why you need to stare your goal in the face every single day and have something to answer to when that goal is not met. This may not seem as important at the beginning when just pure adrenaline is getting you through your first few training runs. It is going to be the days where you want to eat your whole fridge, can’t bend down far enough to sit on the couch, and are sweating in places you didn’t even realize were attached to your body that you are going to need this goal to fall back on. We will have plenty of discussions on this (don’t you worry) but I have laid out a very simplistic foundation below. I am not reinventing the wheel here – this I know! But a little refresher never hurt anyone…

  • Write down your goal; Stare at it. Hang it up in your closet. Post it on social media. Tell it your best friend. Display it as your phone background. Place your goal somewhere you cannot ignore it.
  • Think about all of the obstacles that you are going to have to overcome to achieve this goal; Be realistic! Be thorough! Do your research!
  • Accept; Accept each and every challenge that lies ahead of you.
  • Commit; Do not commit until you get too busy or an obstacle makes it too difficult. Commit until you can cross this goal off of your list – or bucket list! No matter how long it takes.
  • Revisit your goal constantly (I bet you thought that commit was going to be the last item on the list!); Daily! Every time you open your phone! Every time you walk into your closet!
  • Rethink about all of the obstacles that you are going to have to overcome to achieve this goal; Are you off of your timeline? Are you going to have to put in more work into a shorter period of time? Have more obstacles presented themselves than previously known?
  • Recommit; Every single day.

Never stop committing. Every time this goal gets harder to obtain you should get more serious about the commitment you made to yourself. Now, I understand that people hold themselves accountable in all sorts of ways. Sometimes having a buddy to achieve the goal with can assist. Sometimes telling your spouse to chime in and keep you accountable can help. For me, for example, letting my friends and family know my goal (whether that be through conversation or some hint of a social media post) aides me in holding myself accountable. Even if they do not say anything in return I know that other people have heard my goal. It makes it real. It makes the possibility of not reaching my goal real and there is no way that I am going to let myself come back and say that goal was not met. Whatever it is that helps drive you – do it.

Through this, though, know that the strongest commitment you make is to yourself. When it is mile 24 and everything in your body is telling you to stop moving the only voice in the world that is going to keep your legs going is yours. Your voice. The one that for 4 months of training runs has been suffering and aching – asking yourself why on earth you got yourself into this in the first place. That is the only voice that is going to tell your legs that you have come this far. That this is your victory lap. That you earned this. Commit. Even in those last two miles – you need to recommit. Start training your mind how to NOW! After all, running is 90% mental.