The 1% Club…More Exclusive than Abercrombie

If you were anywhere online last week, you know all about the crap storm that Abercrombie and Fitch’s CEO Mike Jeffries created for his company.

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This man.  A man who doesn’t appear to be capable of blinking his eyes or closing his mouth (but fully capable of scaring small children) drew the proverbial line in the sand and declared war against the average American when he openly stated that Abercrombie sells only to skinny women; no fat girls allowed. And just in case you’re wondering what size Mr. Jeffries starts considering women fat – anything above a size 10.  The quote below is from Mr. Jeffries regarding his views about beauty and Abercrombie’s marketing strategy:

“It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

As you can see from his own words, he’s pretty proud of the exclusionary club he’s created.  A club that forces unrealistic and unhealthy body images at us with every seductive advertisement.  A club that is responsible for countless tears shed by teenage girls because they don’t can’t belong in that club.  Psychologically damaging doesn’t even begin to describe Mr. Jeffries’ club.

I could go on and on about the damage Abercrombie has caused by its bigoted marketing practices but that’s an entirely different post.  Right now , I want to introduce you to another club.  One that’s MORE exclusive then Mr. Jeffries’ could even imagine. The 1% Club.

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Welcome to the 1% Club. This club literally is the ‘cool kid’s club.’ However, as exclusive as this club is, it really is one of the most inclusive clubs out there.  There is no discriminating in the 1% Club; we want and welcome everyone and every body.  You can be short, tall, skinny, fat, able bodied or disabled.  The only thing you have to do to belong is to decide that you want in.

Initiation into the 1% Club doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth it.  To get in, it will take you months of preparation, countless hours of questioning if you can actually do it, and one 26.2 mile race that will test your mental fortitude.  However, crossing that finish line secures lifelong membership.

Wondering what type of company you’ll be in once you’re a member?  These are just a few of the characteristics the members of the 1% Club exhibit: determination, tenaciousness, confidence, empowerment, patience, selflessness, empathy, acceptance of others, camaraderie, and the list could go on and on.  Members are supportive of each other, encouraging of each other, and celebrate each time someone, including a someone they don’t know, crosses that finish line.  You will never feel like you have to change who you are to belong to the 1% Club.

I wanted to showcase some of the fabulous marathoners out there so I reached out to my fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors.  The following pictures are of women, all shapes and sizes, who are proud to call themselves marathoners and be part of the 1% Club:

Mary V. (my runspiration) and her dad Mel. Both are proud marathoners.

Mary V. (my runspiration) and her dad Mel.
Both are proud marathoners.

marathoner

Tanya B.
Blogs at Run Turtle Run

Mindy B. Blogs at Road Runner Girl

Mindy B.
Blogs at Road Runner Girl

2

Tabitha Y.
Blogs at Tab a Dilly

3

Pam
Blogs at We Run Disney

Colleen D. Blogs at Live Free and Run

Colleen D.
Blogs at Live Free and Run

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Megan S.
Blogs at Elbowglitter

Karolynh Blogs at Karolyhn Can Run

Karolynh
Blogs at Karolyhn Can Run

Abby L. Blogs at Back at Square Zero

Abby L.
Blogs at Back at Square Zero

Megan J. Blogs at #RunMeganRun

Megan J.
Blogs at #RunMeganRun

Cori Blogs at Olive to Run

Cori
Blogs at Olive to Run

Kate E. Blogs at Run with Kate

Kate E.
Blogs at Run with Kate

And meeeeeee! Proud marathoner & 1% Club member.

And meeeeeee!

Even though the women pictured above are all quite different, there are a few common traits that you can see: grit, determination, and pure happiness.  Happiness that can’t be purchased in a store.  This is the type of club I’m proud to be a part of.  One that celebrates the diversity in people and encourages self growth through a 26.2 mile journey.  Not the club Mr. Jeffries’ & Abercrombie has taken so much care and bigoted energy to create with their clothing.

One of my favorite running quotes of all time is “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”– Kathrine Switzer.  Obviously Mr. Jeffries has never spectated a marathon; that doesn’t seem like something ‘cool’ people do.  It’s kind of hard to restore your faith in humanity when you’re busy destroying everyone else’s.  Who knows, maybe he’ll have a change of heart with his narrow fat/skinny view of the world someday, but as far as I’m concerned, he did us all a favor by being ignorant enough to boast about his discriminatory viewpoint.  It makes my decision {and hopefully millions of other’s} to never shop there again incredibly easy.  Even though I’m their target demographic, their clothes will never touch this body.  Ever.

Don’t let someone else’s narrow view of the world define your worth.  However, if you’re upset about being excluded from the Abercrombie club, remember two things: 1.) you have the purchasing power to shut that club down and 2.) you have a standing invitation to an even more exclusive club. Myself and everyone of those ladies pictured above can’t wait for you to join us.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the 1% Club includes also includes clothing.  As a member, you’ll be the recipient of some of the most amazing race t-shirts, tanks, shorts, shoes and more accessories then you can ever imagine.  And the absolute best part? Elastic band pants are the preferred clothing choice. Word.  Abercrombie doesn’t have anything on the comfort, style and fashion of workout clothes.  Suck it Jeffries.

Question:  What do you think about Mike Jeffries’ / Abercrombie & Fitch’s viewpoint on selling clothing only to certain people.

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Kona Kase Review

Recently I was given the opportunity through my Fit Approach Ambassadorship to review Kona Kase, a monthly box full of goodies to fuel your active lifestyle.  I checked it out first to see if it was something I’d be interested in, I’m not the type to just review anything (picky is good, right?), and liked what I saw.

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Free box of goodies? Sign me up!

I received my Kona Kase several weeks ago and I was like a kid in a candy shop.  Yes, I realize I’m incredibly easy to please.  Especially when it comes to fitness & health food stuff.  The kase contained 8 different full size items.

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Some of them I had heard of (Clif products and Earnest Eats) but others I had not.  I’ll be honest with you, I was most eager about diving into the samples I hadn’t heard of. I LOVE finding new things that make my life a bit more convenient and are healthy too.  What was really great about this particular box was that it contained several Paleo friendly items (remember that I’ve gone Paleo(ish) this past month).  The few non-Paleo items I gave to my running friends. Gee I’m so sweet….

I’m not going to recap the whole box but some of my favorites were the Wild Squirrel chocolate sunflower seed almond butter.

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The dark choco mint Earnest Eats bar.  Love this company!

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And finally the BruBar.  Although this one contained rolled oats so it doesn’t make the Paleo cut, I really enjoyed it before my long run this past Saturday.  I didn’t feel bad either.  Remember, I’m paleo(ish).  There’s a lot of wiggle room in that ‘ish.’ 😉

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But I digress, this isn’t a review of the contents but a review of the Kona Kase company.  One thing that sets Kona Kase apart from other monthly subscriptions is the fact that they include a card detailing exactly what’s in each case.  This was incredibly helpful because I usually spend a ton of time Googling products.  It was lovely to have everything right at my finger tips.  Bonus – the card contains special discount codes just for Kona Kase subscribers.

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Now here’s the fun stuff.  How Kona Kase works and all the other must know deets.  Kona Kase is a once monthly subscription – but it’s pressure free subscription. You can cancel at any time.  It’s $15 per month and always includes free shipping.  Value wise, my kase had a least $20 worth of items so it’s definitely worth it. And if you really fall in love with Kona Kase (I’m mean, what’s not to love?) they offer a referral program where your friends can get 50% off of their first box and you get $15 for each friend.  Say what?!

Not sure if you’ll love what’s in your box each month? Totally understandable. If you’re curious about the type of the products that have come in other month’s boxes just click here, they have all of their kase contents from past months listed.  It’s some good stuff, I tell ya.

Oh, and I think I might have neglected to tell you this kase also had chocolate in it.  Not like healthified, weird ingredient chocolate but like amazing chocolatier, melt in your mouth dark chocolate.  Don’t judge, it falls into the health food category with all those wonderful antioxidants.

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Yum!  If you’re curious about trying Kona Kase, enter referral code “mcknight” to get your first box half off!  Also, make sure to show them them some love on Facebook and Twitter!

Question:  Have you ever tried a monthly subscription like Kona Kase? If so, what must have item did you discover?

Disclaimer – I was given a Kona Kase to review.  All opinions are my own.  Duh.

Bulu Box Review

Every once-in-a-while, because I’m a Sweat Pink Ambassador through Fit Approach, I get the opportunity to try new products.  Yay! Who doesn’t like free stuff? Sometime there are strings attached to the trials (write a review) and sometimes there aren’t any strings, just products.  The Bulu Box falls into the latter of the two categories but I still wanted to do a review because I think it’s kind of a cool idea.

bulu

So what exactly is a Bulu Box? It’s a vitamin and nutritional supplement sample box.  Each month they send you premium samples of various items available in the health market.  It’s a great way to test drive some products to see if you actually like them before buying the regular size.  It also introduces you to products you may not have otherwise known you can’t live without.

So to give you an idea, this is what came in my box:

Box o'goodies

Box o’goodies

products_he_softchews_1 FRS Health Energy Chews: I was really excited about this because it was a full size product ($20 value) and seemed like a great thing for marathon training.  You take two chews before exercise and it helps keep you energized.  The downfall for me? It’s not clean energy at all.  The first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup.  This is why reading labels is super important.

imgDefendEnergy Immuno-Viva Defend + Energy:  This is similar to those Emergen-C packets but unlike Emergen-C it’s a natural immune booster and energy supplement. I haven’t tried it yet so I’m not sure how it tastes.

Ce Towelette Lav 6pk Crystal Body Deodorant: They sent me a lavender and white tea sample which contains no chemicals or harsh irritants.  It’s also ecofriendly since the towelette is biodegradable.   One of my long term goals is to go as natural as possible so finding this in the box was really great.

Drinkwell Multi Vitamins:  I couldn’t actually find a website for these vitamins but I did find an article on them.  Basically, they are a vitamin for binge drinkers.  I literally laughed when I found that in the Bulu box! I guess runners like to drink….a lot?? I wonder if water falls into the ‘binge’ category.  Anyways, if anyone wants me to send them this sample, let me know.  But be forewarned that it may come with some AA referrals, too.

image CocoaWell True Energy: Is an energy supplement that “lifts your mood, fuels your body and promotes alertness, all while reducing the effects of everyday stress.”  I tend to stay away from energy supplements but I’m curious to try these out on a run.

0000018_almased_300 Almaseed Synergy Diet: Is a natural metabolism enhancer, i.e. weight loss supplement.   Almaseed touts that it enhances your immune system and boosts energy. What intrigues me most is that it’s safe for diabetics.  I’m actually going to send this to my dad, a diabetic, to see what he thinks about it.

So there you have it, the contents of my Bulu box.  As you can see it’s a pretty eclectic mix of stuff.  Bulu Box is a $10 monthly subscription, shipping included, and what’s really cool is you can earn rewards points each month to purchase full size products you may like.

Question:  Do you ever try new supplements or do you stick with what you know?

100 Push Up Challenge

Thank you all so much for the encouragement and support from Friday’s post about my brother’s death.  It means more to me then you may ever know.  I had a blast over the weekend celebrating my brother’s life by getting splattered with paint at The Color Run in New Orleans.  I’ll have a full recap on it next week but here’s at least a bit of a teaser shot for you. 🙂

Looks fun, right? Well, it was!! I’m still finding random splotches of blue on me….

Onto the the heart of the post….If you are even a part time peruser of my blog than you know that it’s no secret I have basically 0% upper body strength.  And I’m not being modest; although, I wish I was.

As a runner, obviously, most of my energy is focused on my lower body but by doing this, I’m totally cheating myself out of the benefits that upper body strength can bring to the table.   Not only does have a svelte upper body look great but it also increases endurance in running.  Think about it this way, the faster and longer you can swing your arms while running, the faster and longer you can run.  During marathon training when I was doing 8 miles of speed work, I would feel every bit of those miles the next day in my traps and deltoids.

Now that I’ve started training for my second marathon, I want to make sure to address this deficiency.  And, I’m not going to lie, I kind of really want that svelte look I mentioned earlier.

I said svelte, not stacked, Arnold!

Several times throughout this past year I’ve gone to the gym and lifted weights only to find myself stopping after a few workouts for whatever excuse I could concoct.  I have the type of personality that responds really well to structure like training plans and challenges (like my no sugar detox which ends today) so when I found  100 Push Ups, I was pretty stoked.  Plus I can do it right in the comfort of my own home….in my PJs. They even have an app for your smart phone (their website’s pretty simplistic but the app is better).

If you’re wondering why I would rather do push ups instead of targeted weight training at the gym, the answer is simple: push ups are one of the most effective upper body exercises you can do.  Pushups work numerous muscle groups simultaneously and you’re already equipped with everything you need to do them – no fancy gym equipment required!

All the muscle groups worked by pushups.
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The 100 Push Up Challenge is a 6 week program that is supposed to take about 30 minutes a week.  30 minutes…I think I can handle that.  It starts with an initial assessment and then works on increasing the amount of push ups you can do.  I was only able to do 10 ‘good form’ pushups so that’s my starting point.  Meh, there’s only one way to go and that’s up, right? Realistically, do I believe that I’ll be able to bang out 100 push ups at the end of 6 weeks? No.  But, if I can even get to 50 consecutive push ups, I’ll be completely satisfied.

I started the challenge last week and let me tell you, my arms have never felt like jello this much!  Saturday was the end of week one and I had to do 42 good-form pushups.  Yowza!  At least the program has you do a rep/rest pattern. To give you an idea, the break down of Saturday’s program went like this: 8 pushups/rest 120 second, 10 pushups/rest, 7 pushups/rest, 7 pushups/rest, and finally 10 pushups….Done, son.  I’ll give updates on my progress periodically over the next 6 weeks and hopefully I’ll have a great before and after picture to share. So here’s the before picture….GULP!

No filter used; just a bad self-timer. Can you spot the photo bomber?

Question:  Do you do any weights workouts to compliment your lifestyle?

What is True Beauty? – Forget What the Media Says

I’ve been having a great training week so far; I really think those mini-goals are keeping me focused! Last night I was able to stop by the cemetery and visit my brother which totally made my week.  I’ll have more about that on Monday’s recap.  But today I want to talk about something that’s really been bothering me.  Recently, the media has quite frankly been pissing me off.  With all of the awesomeness that the 2012 Olympics brought there are still news agencies (TV, newspaper, magazines, whatever) that have to point out flaws.  I mean these are kick butt, gold medal wearing Olympians and yet they’re still not good enough.  WTH?!? A few examples:

Gabby Douglas was reamed by the media about her hair.

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Melissa Franklin’s size 13 feet have been the butt of several media jokes.

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Australia’s triple Olympic breaststroke gold medalist Leisel Jones has been criticized for her weight.

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Let me mention again that these are gold medalists! The best of the best in the world and yet they’re not good enough? I get so tired of the media trying to force an ideal image on us.  How boring would life be if we were all cut from the same cloth? *YAWN*  And what really ruffles my feathers (oh yes, I did just say that) is that the media believes they actually understand beauty.  While in reality, what they are doing is perpetuating a stereotype of beauty; causing unnecessary feelings of inadequacy in the ‘average Joe’ (or Josette, in this case).  I can’t imagine how they would rip a person like me to shreds.

So what is beautiful?  For me, beauty is not something that can be judged from outside appearances alone.  True beauty comes from within and can’t be enhanced with lipstick or mascara.  It’s found in the genuineness of smile, an encouraging hug from a friend, the willingness to help a stranger in need.  It can be seen in the laugh lines that frame a face or the stretch marks and wide hips that once carried a child.  That is true beauty. Below is a picture of  a woman who exemplifies true beauty.  My grandmother.  Will she ever be on the cover of Vogue? No.  But she is one of the most beautiful people I know.  Her tired and stretched body brought 6 amazing children into this world.  Her calloused hands taught me the meaning of being a hard worker.  Her toothless smile (because, let’s face it…she only wears her dentures occasionally) lights up her face anytime I see her.  She is true beauty in motion.
So when you look in the mirror who do you see? Do you see the beautiful face staring back at you? If not, I encourage you to take a closer look. Do you see eyes accentuated with compassion? A beautifully shaped mouth that has a kind word to offer? Hair that is the perfect texture for a child to run their hands through? Ears that will listen to someone in their time of need? Starting to get the picture?
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When I start to get down on my appearance, which happens more often then I care to admit, I just look at myself through the eyes of my family and friends – especially my husband who thinks I hung the moon (well, most of the time).  They see past the media’s ideal of beauty and love me for what value I bring into their lives.  I truly believe that we all need to throw away the media’s idea of beauty; then and only then will we be able to stop worrying about what others think and embrace our full potential.  If you get nothing else out of this post, at least believe that no matter whatever your shape or size, you are beautiful!
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In honor of beautiful women, I’m having my first giveaway! The awesome girls behind Fit Approach also think every woman is beautiful and to celebrate that they sent me a pair of hot pink shoe laces so your shoes can be just as cute as you!

The rules are extremely simple:  Tell me in the comment section what your most beautiful feature is and why.  It can be physical feature or a characteristic.  For an extra entry you can tweet about it;  “I want to win #sweatpink laces from @asphaltnosher because I am beautiful!”.  Just let me know you did by leaving a separate comment.

The contest ends August 24th at midnight (EST) and the winner will be chosen at random and announced Monday August 27th.  Good luck!

Guest Post: Ditch Your Mom Jeans and Your Excuses

Today, my dear Noshing on Asphalt readers, I have treat for you! I’m featuring my first guest blogger who has expertise in an area I know nothing about….being a mom! Stephanie from Fit Mom…In Training is a mom to two young boys.  She has a passion for health, fitness and empowering women to live active, “no excuses” lives.

She chronicles her journey to better health at Fit Mom…in Training and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram (@fitmomintraining).   Stop by her blog and say hello.  While you’re there, make sure to check out my guest post on her blog which includes a really yummy, kid approved recipe!  A special thank you to Katie from Healthy Heddleston for organizing the blog swap.  To see more post from Sweat Pink Ambassadors, click here.  Ok, enough with the links…on to the post!

Ditch Your Mom Jeans and Your Excuses

As a fitness enthusiast, I’ve heard every excuse there is and even provided one or two good ones myself on why we’re skipping workouts, not skipping dessert and generally feeling a lack of motivation to get our butts off the couch and into gear.

I’m tired
I don’t have time
It doesn’t make a difference anyway, I still look the same
I stayed up too late and overslept
That McDonalds isn’t sitting well (I coined that one…on more than one occasion)
~

The fact is, we can come up with a million and one excuses why working out just isn’t going to happen. In the time you take convincing yourself that you’re not going to work out…you could have worked out.

As a mom to a two-and-a-half year old and a 5 month old, I am very familiar with how hard it can be to workout. Between juggling breastfeeding, no sleep, temper tantrums and more, it can be very overwhelming to even think about working out, let alone where you’re going to find the energy to do it.

Overwhelming, yes. Impossible, no.

The fact is, you don’t need hours a day to work out and shed those lingering baby pounds. You need flexibility and creativity to get it done. Here are some tips that have helped me lose the dreaded mom jeans, maintain my sanity and regain my pre-baby body:

1. Define not only what your goals are but how you plan on achieving them. You want to lose the baby weight? Great! But that statement is meaningless unless you have a plan. How do you want to lose them? Running? Zumba? Clean Eating? Be specific. By narrowing down how you intend to reach your goal, you allow yourself the ability focus in on how you can make it happen.

2. Be Flexible. Anyone with kids will tell you that the only thing you can predict is their unpredictability. They don’t always nap when you want to (or in my kids case, at all), and they certainly don’t always want to give you an hour to yourself. Make a plan of what you’d ideally like to get done in any given week (or day) but don’t consider it set in stone. If you plan to go for a 20 minute run and the baby won’t settle or your partner has to work late, go for a power walk with baby instead or do a 15 minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout in your basement or backyard. There have been many days when 10 minutes on the treadmill is all I can manage. Believe me…it’s better than nothing and even a workout as short as 10 minutes does wonders for my mood and patience level.

3. Be Resourceful. Know any other moms struggling to get their workouts in? Arrange a day where you take turns watching each others kids for an hour. Another great alternative is to arrange a fit mom play date at the park, in someone’s back yard, or even in someone’s basement. The kids can play together while the moms do a circuit workout. Have each mom do a different exercise and rotate after 60 seconds. Always have one mom on an active rest to keep an eye on the kids. Everyone gets to sweat, the kids get to play. Win-win. If you have the financial resources, join a gym that offers child care. You get your workout while the kids run off their energy.

4. Make Healthy Food Choices. It’s been said that weight loss and maintenance is 80% diet. We all have to eat anyway so here is where you can make the biggest impact. Choose lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean meats. Shop in season to get the biggest bang for your buck and double the portion size so you have leftovers to freeze for another day. Mindful eating is not only good for you but it will give your body a much needed boost of energy that will last through the day. Avoid prepackaged, processed, quick meals as much as possible as they tend to be full of empty calories that leave you sluggish rather than invigorated. Stuck for time? There are dozens of cookbooks and blogs dedicated to quick, easy to prepare, economically conscious cooking that are both healthy and delicious.

Most importantly, don’t stress over it. Some days will work, others will fail miserably. The important thing is that you make the effort, try your best and avoid those excuses that keep you on the couch.

Thanks so much for writing that post, Stephanie!

Training – Week 1

Week one down, 15 to go! This was by far the easiest training week.  Yep, I just stated the obvious. Of course the first week’s the easiest.  Duh.

I’ve already shared that one of my biggest fears with training is the weather but I was pleasantly surprised that it played nice, for the most part, all week.  We’ve been having some insanely hot days recently 100+ degree heat index but this past week it was only in the 90s.  I never thought I’d be excited for the weather to drop back into the 90s but it’s much more manageable.   Is it fall yet? Training in the summer heat’s no joke!

Speaking of serious weather, check out these clouds from Saturday’s long run.  If you guessed that my running buddies and I got rained on just a bit, you’d be right.  At least it was a nice and refreshing way to end the run!

Scary cloud shot #1

Not so scary cloud shot #2

So Monday marked the first day of official training (complete with a kickoff celebration), followed up with runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Because the training is so strenuous in later weeks, my training plan only has me doing 4 days of running which gives my body enough time to recover. Yay, for injury prevention!

My super intimidating game face. It’s ok to be scared by this picture….I am!
(I really need to figure out how to take a serious picture.)

The total mileage for this week was only 15, but it increases pretty quickly over the next few weeks.  All-in-all it was a great training week and I’m still feeling refreshed and energized to tackle more!  I do really well with schedules and plans so it’s nice to know that I’m working toward a goal but I have to admit that I failed miserably on my stretching and cross training.  I foamed rolled 0times this week and I did yoga (which I love) 0 times this week.  I can offer up my excuses why I didn’t do anything other than run, but bottom line is they’re still excuses.  I’m going to try to make a bigger effort this week to make sure it happens.

On a non-training note, I found out that I was selected as a Sweat Pink Ambassador by Fit Approach.  Holy flattering!! This is from the Fit Approach website explaining what an ambassador is: Sweat Pink Ambassadors live the Fit Approach mission every day: they sweat hard, play hard, and inspire those around them to achieve their best selves. I am humbled to be part of this community of awesome and inspiring Sweat Pink sisters.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be featuring an exciting Sweat Pink giveaway so make sure to check back often!  Training week 2 starts today; oorah!