The Winter 100 Challenge ends today!

Today is the day! The Winter 100 Challenge ends at midnight EST.  Your mileage logs must be emailed to me by that time.  They can be excel spreadsheets, word documents, screenshots from Dailymile/Runkeeper/MapMyRun or whatever other website or program you use to track your training.  As long as you have something that says you ran 100 miles between December 1st and February 29th, you are good to go!

You can email your mileage to

If you didn’t sign up for the challenge earlier, you can still participate! You just have to send me your mileage and you’ll be entered into the drawing for one of our fantastic prizes.

Remember you get an extra chance to win a prize if you make a donation to Team in Training! I am so appreciative of all the donations I have already received from participants.  You guys are awesome.

I want to thank everyone SO much for participating in this challenge.  I am inspired by all of your training and seeing how many miles you logged.

Prize winners will be announced on Friday! Yay!

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Who wants their very own Go Sport ID?

I opted for the Glide with the Glide band bundle pack so I have a color to wear with every running outfit!

I LOVE my Go Sport ID.  I love it so much that for Christmas I wanted to spread the Go Sport ID love.  I gave gift cards for Go Sport ID to 4 family members so they could create their own custom IDs.  I also gave my hubby his very own Go Sport ID.

On my Go Sport ID, I included my name and my hubby’s name and phone number.  That way if anything were to happen to me while I’m out for a run, someone can contact him.  There’s also room on the ID to include a short inspirational quote or line that you like.  On my ID, I have “The Running Mom” and “One mile at a time” engraved along with my emergency contact information.

I chose to put The Running Mom on it because part of why I love having my blog is because I feel like it helps keep me accountable.  If I tell you guys that I’m going to run 22 miles, then I better get out there and do it!

I also chose “One mile at a time” because I saw that as a suggestion on the Go Sport ID website.  The reason I liked that so much is because sometimes I get really anxious about the miles I need to tackle on a run and I need that reminder to take it one mile at a time so I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Go Sport ID was generous enough to donate TWO $25 gift cards to the Winter 100 Challenge.  That means 2 of my wonderful participants will be able to order their very own awesome IDs.  Yay!

One of these could be yours!

~ The challenge ends tomorrow.  Be sure to send me your running logs by midnight EST tomorrow.  You can email me at  Thank you to everyone who has already sent me your mileage logs.  I’m inspired by the miles you’ve all run! ~

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Who wants some Nuun?

I have an addiction to Nuun.  I must have my lemon-lime Nuun with me for all long runs.  The Baltimore Marathon taught me that I must also have it with me during long races.  I had a serious craving for my Nuun during that marathon.  After I crossed the finish line, getting myself some Nuun was my number 1 priority.

I want to share my love for Nuun with you.  That’s why I asked the amazingly awesome folks at Nuun if they would be so kind as to donate some of their products to the Winter 100 Challenge.  I was ecstatic when they offered a sample pack and a super cool Nuun water bottle to one lucky participant in the challenge.

Delicious hydration

Why do I love Nuun?

  • It doesn’t contain sugar.  I really dislike sugary sports drinks.  They make me feel nauseous.  I know some people don’t mind them, but they just don’t work for me.
  • It has a light and refreshing flavor.  I have tried most flavors of Nuun and haven’t met one that I don’t like.  I definitely have my favorites though (lemon-lime, lemon tea, and grape) and my hubby has his (fruit punch, citrus fruit, and orange).
  • Nuun is super easy to use and replenishes your body’s electrolytes while tasting good. What more can you ask for?

The Winter 100 Challenge ends on Wednesday 2/29.  I’ve already received lots of mileage logs.  If you’re ready to send yours, e-mail to to  You’ll know by the end of the week if you’ve won one of the amazing prizes!

Have you finished your 100 miles yet?

I took this picture last summer for a post about my favorite hydration products.  It’s one of my favorite pictures because of the adorable mischievous little man in the background:

Little stinker wanted to play with my Nuun tubes

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22 miles!

This morning, I tackled my longest run before the Rock ‘N Roll USA Marathon – 22 miles.  I’ve already done a 21 mile and a 20 mile run so 22 should be a piece of cake, right? Haha, I don’t think so.

I was super excited about this run because it was with Team in Training.  Our team is part of their flex program which means the training is done on our own and we have a coach who checks in with us weekly.  TNT is hosting group runs throughout the state every weekend until race day.  It’s a different location every week so I was stoked that it was in my area this weekend.  The other locations are quite a hike for me.

I got to meet my coach in person finally and she is the sweetest person ever.  Her name is also Kristin so obviously us Janine/Kristin folks are super awesome.  She even gave me a hug when I finished my 22 miles.  If you want to hug a stinky runner after 22 miles, you are a good person! I also got to meet some fellow teammates and TNT staff.  They are such wonderful people.  Running with TNT is a huge inspiration and it’s amazing to hear about the strides The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has made thanks to TNT fundraising.

I ran past 3 lakes – Centennial Lake

I got the the park a wee bit early to knock out a few miles because I had such a long run to do.  I met up with the group after 3 miles and headed off with them for the next 19.  Most of the team members are running the Rock ‘N Roll half so I didn’t run with anyone today.  There was one guy who planned to run 20-22 miles, but he was wicked fast.  Our coaches met us at the water stops along the way to check to see how we were doing.

The running route is insanely hilly so there were some not so nice words that nearly escaped my mouth while I was running, but I managed to keep those thoughts to myself.

Lake Kittamaqundi

I felt pretty good until about mile 17.  It’s funny that fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Pavement Runner gave me permission to dislike that mile.  Mile 17 is where I started to feel like everything hurt.  I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.  I was too far away from my car! I kept on trucking and I started to lose my grip on reality around mile 18.  Ya know during a long run or marathon when you become slightly delusional? I started singing along out loud with Adele’s “Rumour has it” and I didn’t give a crap if anyone heard or saw me.

Wilde Lake

Mile 20 was pretty much all uphill.  It was brutal.  Did I mention we have 25-35mph winds today? Hills + windy = cranky runner.  I was a little past mile 20 when I got back to the park where we started.  I still had to tack on nearly 2 miles.  I swear that the last mile felt longer than the first 21.  I kept looking at my watch thinking I must have accidentally paused it.

Ignore the 7:46 pace – apparently long runs make my watch delusional too

Seeing my watch hit 22 miles was the biggest relief.  I did it! I met up with the group to chat for a few more minutes then headed out.  I made a quick stop to pick up a recovery beverage:

When you run really far, you get a new name. You can now call me Kristal.

I even managed to get a bloody injury out of my run.  I have this problem where sometimes I accidentally manage to kick my ankle with the side of my running shoe.  I must be seriously uncoordinated to manage this.  I kicked myself no less than 10 times and every time is made me wince in pain and perhaps let out a yelp or 2.  When I got back to my car, I noticed that I actually made myself bleed.  Awesomesauce.

It could be worse

You know you wanted to see it

When I got home and took off my sock, I told Zain I had a boo-boo.  He said “boo-boo?” and came and gave me a hug.  That’s my sweet boy.

So there you have it – 22 miles in the bag! I am SO ready for the taper.  I even managed to hit the exact average pace my training plan called for today – 9:46.


Did or are you running or racing this weekend?

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Another one of those runs

My week started off with a fantastic run on Monday.  Wednesday’s run was less than stellar.  I did a short 3 mile run with Zain in the stroller that might as well have been a 20 mile run because I struggled for every mile.

Yesterday, I had another awesome run to balance it out.  I waited to run in the afternoon so that hubby could come along for a family run.  Family runs are my favorite.  I love running with my hubby and we don’t get to do it all that often.  Hubby asked ahead of time how many miles we’d be running so he could mentally prepare himself.  I told him 10 and he didn’t find that very funny.  Instead, we ran 3 miles together which was nice and relaxing.

After our 3 miles in the gorgeous 60 degree February weather were up, I slyly passed the stroller off to hubby so I could continue on with my run and he could go home with Zain.  Zain only allows me to push him while running so I had to pass him off without him noticing.  Slow stroller splits:

Mile 1-10:15 (just warming up)

Mile 2-10:05

Mile 3- 10:28 (stupid hills!)

When I go from pushing the stroller to running alone, I feel liberated.  I feel so light and free that I can speed up and run farther.  I planned to just run until I hit 5 or 6 miles, but I felt good enough to keep going – something that doesn’t happen often!

Mile 4- 9:03 (weeee, I’m free!)

Mile 5- 9:01 (this feels good!)

As my pace dipped into the 8 minute range, I had a crazy thought – I wonder if I can run a mile with an average pace in the 7 minute range.  I’ve never done that before.  I’ve run in the 7 minute range for short sprints, but that’s it.  I had to really punch it to get my legs moving that fast.

Mile 6- 7:57 (holy crap!)

I don’t know how people run at that pace or faster normally.  I feel like I’m a speeding car in danger of losing control when running that fast! Luckily, I didn’t lose control and go flying off the sidewalk.  I felt amazing when I saw my watch said 7:57.  Then I majorly slowed down for a cool down mile.

Mile 7- 9:47 (that feels safer)

Our run started in the late afternoon and it was dark by the time I got home.  I’m not a fan of running in the dark, but there was something very peaceful about running as the sun went down.

Let’s hope the pattern for the week does not continue as good run, bad run, good run, bad run…otherwise I’ll be in big trouble for my 22 mile run tomorrow!

Tomorrow will be my longest run before the marathon, then it’s taper time.  I can’t believe the marathon is just over 3 weeks away!

What are your running or racing plans this weekend?

~ Don’t forget that the Winter 100 Challenge ends next week! ~

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One of those runs…

…that reminded me why I love to run.  The truth is that I love to run like 95% of the time, but that other 5% can really drag me down.  Thankfully, there are the fantastic runs that stand out and remind me why I lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement.

In my typical Monday fashion, I felt lazy yesterday and opted not to run outside in the morning with Zain.  It was chilly and windy in the morning so running with the stroller didn’t sound appealing.  I planned to hit the treadmill during naptime for a 5 mile run.  Hubby decided to just work a half day and came home in time for me to go for a run.  I considered still running on the treadmill, but he told me to run outside because it was a pretty afternoon.  I’m glad I listened to him.

As I got ready to head out the door, I started to get excited to run – that honestly doesn’t always happen! I felt like my run had so much potential since it’s so rare that I do a training run during the week alone.  I was happy to take advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to push a 30lb toddler in a jogging stroller.

The 5 miles with 5 strides I had originally  planned to do sounded boring so I decided to give a tempo run a try.  The other tempo runs I’ve done were on the treadmill which felt very different from doing it outside.  I planned to warm up for a mile, run 5 miles at an 8:20-8:30 pace, cool down for a mile – 7 miles in total.  I know I can hit that pace, but I usually do it in the last mile or 2 of a run when I feel that it’s safe to use up the remainder of my energy.  I didn’t know if I was really capable of running that “fast” for 5 miles non-stop.

This is what happened:

Mile 1: 9:29 (warm up)
Mile 2: 8:39
Mile 3: 8:23
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:18
Mile 7: 8:34 (cool down)

My cool down was faster that two of my tempo miles! After I finished mile 6, I consciously tried to slow down, but my pace didn’t really change much.  I must have tricked my legs into going faster that they usually like to go.

While I was running, I didn’t actually feel awesome.  I had eaten lunch too soon before I ran so I felt like I was teetering on the edge of the puke zone for most of the run.  I managed to push through that feeling.  My neighborhood is rather hilly so I had trouble maintaining a totally steady pace, but I did the best I could.

Looks like I might have sped up a little at the end there…

When I finished my run, I looked at my watch and saw I had run 7 miles in just over an hour.  I’ve never run that fast before.  I was so happy when I finished this run.  I kept thinking that I can’t wait to do another tempo run! Ya know what else is awesome about running fast? You cover the miles faster.  I know – duh! As I was running, I loved how the miles ticked by so quickly because I was moving faster than usual.

Sappy sidenote: I have the best hubby in the world.  He’s the reason I got to go for a solo run outside on a beautiful afternoon.  He wrote me a note to tell me how proud he was of me before he had to jet off to his grad class.  AND he made a donation to Team in Training for me yesterday morning which brought me to my fundraising minimum.  He’s my number one supporter.  I’m so lucky.

I know what you’re thinking – my hubby has such nice handwriting :-)

It feels great to kick off the week with a great run.  An awesome run puts me in a much better mood and makes me feel optimistic about everything.  I’m ready to tackle a big week which will end with a 22 mile run on Saturday.  Bring it!

Have you had any awesome runs lately?

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Runner’s high

Miles: 20

Gels: 3

Fluids: Nuun and water

Entertainment: mostly music from Glee, that’s right – I love Glee!

I had another 20 mile run on the schedule this weekend.  My plan was to once again join the group I ran with last weekend.  Zain ended up waking up a bajillion times on Friday night so a 5am wake up on Saturday didn’t sound too appealing.

We got about an inch of snow on Friday night and were due for some more snow/rain during my run.  The sidewalks and roads were just wet so I wasn’t worried about running outside.  I did opt to just run on sidewalks in case the roads were slick.  I planned to run a big 9 mile loop twice then add some more mileage at the end.

Since last week’s 21 mile run went well, I felt more confident that I could handle the mileage.  Even though I had that confidence, I still had this little voice in the back of my mind wondering if I could make it through 20 miles alone.  The first few miles my body was just warming up and I couldn’t quite find my groove.

Then something wonderful happened.  At mile 5, it started to flurry and I felt myself slip into the elusive euphoric state that is the runner’s high.  I rarely experience the runner’s high and the times I have were only during long runs.  That light happy feeling lasted until mile 16.  That’s longer than it’s ever lasted before so I guess I should be thankful!

At mile 16, I started to slip out of my runner’s high and back to reality that I still had 4 seemingly long miles left.  At mile 17, I was really done.  Since I was running my 9 mile loop twice, I arrived back near my house at mile 18.  My warm cozy living room was calling to me.  I just wanted to run back inside and lay down on the floor.  That’s how tired I was.  I pushed myself as hard as I could for the last 2 miles to just get them over with.  My average overall pace was 9:43 with mile 19 at 9:01 and mile 20 at 8:51.  I must have had a little bit of energy left in my legs to be able to pull that off.

The end of marathon training finally feels like it’s in sight.  I only have to run 15 miles this weekend.  After that I’ll do my longest run: 22 miles, then it’s taper time.  It’s starting to feel real that I’m going to run another marathon in less than 5 weeks!

Have you ever experienced the runner’s high?

Apparently, my hubby experiences the runner’s high on every long run.  Am I doing something wrong that that doesn’t happen to me?! Sometimes I feel like I can barely lift my feet off the ground on a long run!

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Who wants a shiny new Garmin?

If you do, you better finish finish up your 100 miles for the Winter 100 Challenge if you haven’t done so already!

The Winter 100 Challenge will end on 2/29, but the fun will just be beginning for the lucky winner of the Garmin Forerunner 210.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

I have an insane love for my Garmin Forerunner 110 – the second Garmin watch I’ve owned.  I received my first Garmin watch as a college graduation gift in 2006.  I was so excited to use it because I was getting ready to train for my first marathon.  My first 3 years of college, I was almost solely a treadmill runner.  I was obsessed with watching the screen of the treadmill to see how far and how fast I was going.  My senior year of college, I finally began to regularly run outside.  I loved it, but I missed knowing how far I had gone.  I could estimate the distance, but I wanted something more exact.

When I started training for the Marine Corps Marathon with Team in Training after graduation, only a handful of my teammates had GPS watches as well.  Because I had one, people wanted to run with me so they’d know their distance too – see that? Having a Garmin watch can help you make friends :) .

After I had Zain, I slowly eased back into running starting on the treadmill again.  The treadmill was easiest because I could park my sleepy little newborn next to the treadmill; he’d watch me run and quickly drift off to the sound of the humming treadmill.  When I started running outside again, I just wore a regular old watch to see how long I ran.  That was fine at the time because I wasn’t running long distances and I didn’t mind not knowing the exact details.

At the beginning of 2011, I rededicated myself to running when I signed up for a half marathon – my first long distance race in 4.5 years.  At that point, I felt like I needed a new Garmin.  I compared all the models on Garmin’s website and opted for the awesome (and super cute) Garmin Forerunner 110 in gray and pink.

Now that I run with it regularly, I don’t know how I survived a hiatus from having a Garmin.  I love being able to track my distance and pace.  I love syncing my Garmin to the computer and analyzing my splits, comparing different runs, checking out my route, looking at my elevation gain, etc.  I also love that the watch isn’t too clunky so I can wear it anytime.

My husband also wears a Garmin 110.  For a couple months, he actually rocked my gray and pink watch on his runs until we decided to get him his own in black :) .  I asked him what he loves about his Garmin.  He said he loves the look of it and how he can wear it anytime.  He also loves keeping track of his mileage with Garmin Connect.  He’s not one to keep a log of his training, but Garmin takes care of that for him so he can keep track of his progress without any extra work for him.

Do you want it?

You know you do

The Garmin Forerunner 210 has some really awesome features that my 110 doesn’t have that sound amazing.  You can set up interval training workouts – perfect for a session at the track.  You can use the Garmin footpod (sold separately) which gives you the freedom to record your workout indoors as well as outdoors.  That’s just a sampling of what it can do.  The best part about all Garmin watches – they’re SO easy to use.  Right out of the box, you’ll be up and running (literally!) in no time!

You better finish those 100 miles!

Remember that the Winter 100 Challenge ends on 2/29.  I will continue to dangle the prizes in front of you for the next couple weeks to give you that extra dose of motivation to wrap of those miles! ;)

How are my Winter 100 Challenge participants doing? I’ve already received a lot of mileage logs.  Keep ‘em coming!


Note: I purchased my own Garmin watch.  Garmin very generously donated the Forerunner 210 to the challenge giveaway.  All opinions are my own.


*If you haven’t signed up for the challenge yet, you still can as long as you can show documentation of your 100 miles.*

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Fun with play dough

My creation

I’m always looking for new fun activities to do with Zain.  Today, I tried my hand at making homemade play dough for him.  It was super easy and he had tons of fun playing with it.

Hmm, what should I do with this stuff, mommy?

Oh, it feels funny!

I made an elephant for Zain…he liked it’s ears

What is this, mama?

Making hand prints

No, don’t eat it!

Look what Zain made! Okay, maybe mommy had fun with the play dough too

Playing with play dough is serious business

Playing with shapes

Lining up his shapes

Fun, fun, fun!

Making play dough is easy! I was glad to make my own so I didn’t have to freak out if Zain tried to eat it which of course, he did.  I made 3 separate batches so we could have different colors.  I would have made more, but we used up all the salt in the house! Zain and I played with our play dough for over an hour.  Not much will usually hold his attention that long so that says a lot about how much he loved it!


Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin

Recipe from The Toddler’s Busy Book.


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Stepping out of my comfort zone

On Saturday, I was scheduled to run 20 miles.  I knew if I tried to run 20 miles by myself, I would have a tough run.  I would lose my focus and my motivation.  I’ve been doing the majority of my long runs alone for the past year.  Sometimes, I don’t mind.  I enjoy the “me time” and the chance to rock out to my music since I don’t listen to it when I run with Zain.

For my 20 mile run, I knew it would help if I had others to run with.  There’s a problem with that: I don’t have any running friends! There is a local group – the Howard County Striders – that meets every Saturday for what’s called the Bagel Run.  I joined the Striders a couple months ago, but was too intimidated to go to one of their runs.  Why was I chicken? I’m pretty shy about meeting new people so I was being a wimp.  I was honestly afraid I wasn’t a good enough runner to run with the group.

I sent an e-mail fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Miss Zippy who is a member of the Striders to ask her some questions about the run.  She was awesome, sweet and patient with my silly questions and assured me I would meet people to run with and enjoy the group run.  She also suggested coming early to get some miles out of the way since I had such a long run to do.

I’ve gotten used to being lazy this Winter and starting my long runs later in the morning.  It’s cold out so there’s no rush to beat the heat like in the Summer.  Waking up at 5am to run in the dark, cold morning wasn’t easy.

I got to the designated meeting place early and had time for just over 3 miles, then I waited for everyone to arrive.  It was really cool to see about 40 runners (I’m bad at estimating numbers, but I think that’s pretty close) gathering to run 8 to 20 miles.

In the beginning, Miss Zippy came to say hello quickly then everyone was off to start the run.  I just followed the crowd and everyone spaced out along the route depending on their pace.  One guy ran alongside me for a few minutes to chat, then I realized I was going a little too fast so I had to slow it down.  He told me not to be shy and say hello to people.  I wish I could be like that, but I don’t feel comfortable just popping up next to people and saying “HI!”

While waiting to cross the street at an intersection, I heard my husband’s aunt say my name.  She’s a runner and frequently runs with the group, but I didn’t know that she’d be there that morning.  I ran with her for a little while then she introduced me to some ladies who were running about the same distance as me at the same pace.

I had a FANTASTIC time running with them! The miles flew by as we chatted and got to know one another.  Running with them helped me maintain my pace and not slow down when I was feeling tired.  I also really enjoyed running the group’s course because even though I know the area well, I’m not familiar with all the neighborhoods and running/bike paths that they run on.  It was nice to have a change of scenery from where I usually run at home too.

I stopped my watch as soon as I hit 20 miles.  The lady I was running with had a little more to do so she kept going.  I really needed to stop at 20.  The problem was that I was still 1.5 miles from my car.  I walked for a few minutes and then decided to just power through the dead legs and run another mile.  I stopped at 21 and walked the rest of the way.

Despite how hard it was to run 21 miles, I had an amazing run.  I felt like my love of running was reinvigorated because I had such a good run and my confidence in finishing the marathon has gotten a good boost.  I ran 20 miles in 3:26:04 – an average pace of 9:49.  I even managed to run mile 21 in 9:38.  That was fast for how tired my legs were.

The biggest problem I had on this run was that I twisted my right ankle 5,629,837 times (only a slight exaggeration).  I don’t know what these things are, but they were all over the sidewalks/paths.   My foot and ankle are a little sore from all the twisting, but I don’t think it’s anything serious. I promise there were more than just 2 of them along the way; these are just the 2 I found in the parking lot:

Tiny little death traps just waiting to break your ankle

It’s a good thing I burned 2,677 calories during my run because we celebrated Zain’s birthday again on Sunday with party #2.


Yellow cake, chocolate buttercream in the center, chocolate cake, covered in vanilla buttercream

Zain’s favorite: Madeleines

And for the cuteness factor:

Ahhh, all partied out

Do you run with a group? If you don’t and you’re feeling a little intimidated like I was, give it a try! You just might love it.

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