Working Hard & Running Accomplishments

Happy March, friends! It is officially running season. Woot woot! 🙂

Today’s post is about one of my favorite people…our dad!

Our dad has always been the hardest working person that I know. He started his business when he was 19 (and our parents wonder why Liz and I want to own business) and grew it into a well respected establishment over the last 37 years. He taught my sister and I that hard work = results. He’s right. As much as I try to take shortcuts, there is no shortcut for hard work. That is what creates results. This has translated to my work life, relationships, running career, and every other area of my life.


(Just casually throwing around hay bails while he’s on his lunch break.)

Outside work, our dad came to every swim and track meet, band concert, talent show, and ridiculous thing that we asked him to attend. He worked 12+ hour days and still picked Liz and I up from practices before going home to work around the house.


(CHECK OUT THAT BEARD!! And yes, that’s me – the baby with the huge head!)

In between, he found time to fix up old cars, take care of our many pets, and exercise on a regular basis. He loves to dance, dotes on our mom, and gets along best with children. Our dad is an expert networker and is always bringing people together on projects.


(Our family at a recent wedding where we danced together the whole night.)

He’s adventurous and willing to try anything. If he says he’s going to do something, he does it. His latest venture? Raising bison! He has been talking about this for a few years and although it has been a long time coming, he is almost ready to make this a reality.


(Bison fences ready to go!)

I have so much respect for my dad and I couldn’t have asked for a better role model in my life. Yesterday was his birthday and although I couldn’t be with him on it, his birthday reminds me of all the life lessons that he taught me. My favorite lesson – hustle, hustle, hustle until you get the results that you want (and still find time for family).


(Our parents on vacay together. They are so CUTE!)

This leads me to my next topic (sort of)…

I love seeing and hearing about my friends succeeding, but I especially love hearing about their running achievements. I’ve noticed that more and more of my friends are running and more of them are telling me about their running accomplishments. I was at a party this weekend and three different friends started off our conversation by telling me how much they ran that day. This makes my heart so incredibly happy, especially when my friends are so enthusiastic about it!

I think I’m going to start giving out little rewards to my friends who tell me about their running accomplishments. This is what I do with my students at swimming lessons. If they do a good job at our lesson, they get a lollipop. But why should kids have all the fun? Sometimes us adults need a little extra incentive, too. Next time you see me, make sure you tell me about your latest running (or other athletic) endeavor. Maybe I’ll have a treat for you! 😉

What do you think? Super cheesy? Good – the cheesier, the better! If you have any ideas on what I can give out (candy seems to be the obvious choice), please let me know!!!

Happy Wednesday!!

Have any races lined up for March?

What do you think about rewards for running?

Think Less, Live More

I think a LOT…sometimes too much, so this is a great reminder to stop thinking and take action when I catch myself overthinking. Does anyone else have that problem, too?

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In other news, music has been a strong influence in my life right now. I very much appreciate good music and envy anyone who can sing and play beautiful music. I thank my mom for this since she loves music and took my sister and I to a variety of concerts and Broadway shows when we were younger. I use music to motivate me for everything – even getting out of bed in the morning. The Weeknd and Daft Punk have my heart right now with “I Feel It Coming”. Here are the songs stuck in my head right now…

I Feel It Coming” by The Weeknd & Daft Punk
Shape of You” Ed Sheeran
I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” Taylor Swift & ZAYN
Working for It” ZHU & Skrillex
Come on Eileen” Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Bad Things” Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello
Love on the Brain” Rihanna
Trust Nobody” – Cashmere Cat & Selena Gomez
Make Me (Cry)” – Noah Cyrus & Labrinth

Speaking of weekends and music, I went to two spontaneous concerts and had such a blast two weeks ago. A weekend of live music and dancing is a weekend well spent. Friday night was hippie jams with The Werks at The Foundry in Northern Liberties. Saturday was The Legwarmers at The Trocodero. Completely different genres, but both were incredibly fun. If you need to mix up your Spotify playlist, try some 80s music. You’ll probably know every lyric to every song.

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I gave myself this cabbage tattoo for the 80s concert in honor of my sister:

IMG_1625.JPGWhat do you think? Get it for real?

Other things going on…

Melissa and I have been going on gym and coffee shop dates lately. Not a bad combo:

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Benna’s (my favorite cafe) had this picture perfect (and tasty) chicken pot pie yesterday:

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#Heaven

Post gym smoothie from the Run Life Co. ‘gram:

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The concoction: banana, apple, pineapple, orange, avocado, Unicon Nutrition vanilla protein, soy milk, and topped with chia seeds.

The weather fluctuations have been keeping things interesting. How did we go from this one day…

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…to this the next day?

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“Hello, who’s there? Ah yes, hi there global warming! You’re really confusing my outfit choices.”

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I pretend to be a photographer with my iPhone 5s sometimes:

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Attempted to make a Cafe Rio salad because #nostalgia:

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And made the most bomb seafood fettucini alfredo. Here’s the recipe. I HIGHLY recommend it! Healthy? Maybe not. Delicious? 100% YES!

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More nostalgia when I found this picture from summer. Running in shorts & beer gardens need to come back soon.

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“Global warming, still there??”

I took myself on a Philly running tour last Thursday and found Ben Franklin’s grave:
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Then ran up his namesake and my favorite bridge, the Ben Franklin.

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It was so cold at the top that my phone died while I was taking pictures. I do not recommend running over a bridge in 30 degree weather. I was freeeeeezing.

My parents’ Jack Russell, Arya, got sprayed by a skunk on Thursday night. My sister sent me a picture of her after she had to sleep alone for a night:

IMG_1683.JPG-1.jpegHave you ever seen sadder puppy dog eyes? She’s the cutest.

And how about we love more along with living more?

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Everyone was taking pictures of the LOVE sign on Valentine’s Day. Speaking of which, I love Philly.

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends!

What songs do you have on repeat right now?

How has your week been going?

What fun outdoor activities have you been doing in the warm weather?

Stress Reduction Before the New Year

Did everyone have a great holiday?? I can’t believe that 2016 is almost over! This has been the fastest year of my life. I was talking to a family member about that over the holiday and they said that the years keep getting faster as you get older. I guess that means you have to enjoy each and every moment as much as possible. Carpe diem!

I always love this time of year, but it can be stressful, too – so many things to fit in before the year is over, pressure to be part of big celebrations, finances spread thin. This year has definitely been stressful for me, but I’ve found new ways to prevent anxiety and deal the small stuff. I’m going to share some of the anti-stress tactics that I’ve already been practicing and that I’ll be implementing more of into my 2017 daily routine. Hopefully you can benefit from them, too! Who’s with me??

8. Reading – I recently read an article that said just 6 minutes of reading can significantly reduce anxiety. From experience, it works!


(My sister surprised me with this book without knowing that I wanted it. Has anyone read it already?? P.S. I was wearing shorts outside yesterday…I wouldn’t be mad if we had more winter days like that. 😉

7. Essential oils – This is the latest, greatest trend in the health and wellness world. My whole family is really into essential oils right now, and they were a big part of my Christmas gifts. Whether they truly have magical powers or they’re a placebo isn’t clear to me, but either way, I love using them for everything.

6. Calming tea – Happy, sad, excited, anxious, stressed out, tired, or bored, I always turn to tea. I’ve been a tea addict for a while, but my favorite is Yogi tea’s Honey Lavender Stress Relief. A cup of this before bed always helps me sleep. I also enjoy Honey Lemon Throat Comfort when I’m looking for another caffeine-free option, which leads me to my next suggestion…

5. Cutting back on caffeine – One of the most abused drugs, caffeine, can definitely cause anxiety. I drink caffeinated tea every day, but I’m trying to drink less caffeinated teas these days. Yogi’s Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life is my favorite mild source of caffeine.

4. Good sleep – Sleep is so, so, so important for a healthy functioning mind and body! I’m super guilty of cutting corners in the sleep department, but I’m ready to be back on a regular sleep schedule in the new year.

3. Massage or Reiki – I grew up getting sports massages and going to the chiropractor, but now I’ve turned to Reiki (compliments of my sister). In Reiki, the practitioner channels energy into another person to open their chakras. You can learn more about Reiki here. My sister plays music with 528 Hz frequencies while she performs the Reiki. You can find this type of music on YouTube here. It’s great for studying and working, too!


(My sister and I at a wedding recently. She’s the best!)

2. Meditation – I’ve always struggled with meditation, but practicing it more often will be my number one resolution in the new year. If anyone has tips for getting into meditation, I’m all ears!

1. Exercise – Of course, my number one tactic for stress relief is exercise. It’s easy to stop working out in the fall and winter since we all want to go into hibernation, but I know I need exercise in my life to be able to think clearly and be productive. It gives me more energy and keeps my stress levels down.


(Thank you to my roommate Mel for my new favorite sweatshirt. It’s perfect for yoga at the gym!)

Happy New Year to everyone! Remember to get those resolutions written down and start working on them ASAP! Have a great day. 🙂

How do you prevent stress?

Have any New Year’s Resolutions that you would like to share?

Do you have any fun plans for New Year’s Eve/Day?

Monday Motivation

With a newsfeed full of race photos and a heart full of inspiration, there is only one thing on my mind this morning: the Philadelphia Marathon.

Instead of running the marathon this year, I was a spectator. I thought that I would have extreme FOMO (fear of missing out) watching the race this weekend, but I had such a great time cheering for everyone that I was only a teeny tiny bit jealous.


(Seeing the elites start the half marathon was super impressive!)


(Melissa made a friend along the course.)

Several hundred students from Students Run Philly Style and many of my friends were running this weekend. Saturday had perfect weather for the half marathon and everyone looked strong as they approached the finish line. But Sunday was a different story. It was FREEZING with winds over 15 mph. I watched thousands of people push themselves through tough conditions. Runners were smiling, crying, limping, dancing, holding hands (I teared up every time I saw this), and carrying their children on their shoulders as they crossed the finish line.


(Shoutout to my roommate, Mel, for completing her first half marathon!)


(This is how much we bundled up on Sunday to watch the race while some runners were in shorts and tank tops.)

Five years ago, this was my first marathon. My friend Jon and I started training in the early spring of 2011 and ran together several times a week for that entire year. Running brought us together and turned us into best friends. I think about that race a lot and how we grew from it. When we started training together, Jon had never run more than a mile and I had only completed one half marathon. While the race was awesome, I’ll always cherish the time we spent training for it. We built up our mileage one step at a time (literally 😉 through hours of running. It helped us de-stress after class while getting to know Philly on foot. Building that foundation in college made me realize that anything is possible with dedication. If we could fit in 20 mile training runs while balancing school, work, and social activities, there should always be time for running in our lives. Jon recently moved to Switzerland for work so we may not be running together for a while, but we will always have that experience under our friendship belt.

Being part of the marathon experience, even as a spectator, motivates me like nothing else. Seeing people set and accomplish such a huge goal makes me want to set new challenging goals as well. I didn’t run any full marathons this year. I wanted to fall back in love with running and that’s exactly what I did. Refreshed and recharged, I’m ready for another one. I learned my lesson about spring marathons (you’ll end up training in rough winter conditions on the east coast), but it’s time to sign up for next year’s races. Any suggestions??

I hope this little recap motivated you to set a goal this week. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again –  if you need motivation in your life, watch a race, even if it’s a 5k. You’ll still see people accomplishing something that they didn’t know was possible. People are amazing and our accomplishments are limitless. Sometimes we just need a reminder about this.

For more inspiration, check out this story in the Philly Voice about a student runner who ran this weekend. Spoiler alert: she completed the marathon!

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My new friend Phil – a former SRPS runner – and an FYI about Students Run Philly Style.)

Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you run this weekend?

What is your next race?

What marathon do you recommend?

Have any fun Thanksgiving plans?

Fall Adventures & Monday Real Talk

Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? That’s how I felt for the past few months. Nothing was going smoothly, even the smallest tasks felt extra tiring, and worst of all, my mind has been foggy. That always scares me more than anything…when I can’t focus and I’m lacking creativity and motivation. Even my confidence and personality were wavering.

Then last week something clicked. I haven’t been taking care of myself.

It all started around June/July. With all the fun outdoor workout groups going on, I was going to classes or running groups every single day. That sounds like a good thing, right? Wrong. I could feel my body breaking down, but I ignored the aches and pains to keep exercising.

Over the past two weeks, I cut back on everything. I was mentally and physically exhausted from trying to do too much, and I needed a break. I started having more energy and was able to start focusing on my goals again.

The other culprit? My diet. I’ve been cutting corners on meals – eating snacks here and there instead of healthy meals, grabbing something on the go, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Sometimes it’s easier to make a quick breakfast sandwich rather than blending a smoothie in the morning or to eat pasta for dinner rather prepping salads for the week. But after doing that for far too long, my body AND my mind took a hit.

Now that I’m back to meal prepping and letting my body recover, I feel like a new person. I started taking more vitamins again, too. This is a friendly reminder to take care of your body. As my friend Pam always says, “It’s the only place we have to live.” A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and makes you your best self.

Speaking of your best self, I found my all time favorite Yogi tea tag this week:

This really spoke to me. Love yourself and trust yourself first! When you ignore your own needs and intuition, that’s when things go wrong!

On a happier note, fall is here and I’m savoring the leaves changing. I really missed this when I lived on the west coast…

Fall

On Saturday, a friend had a DIY cider making event. It was super easy, and the cider was delicious!

First, we crushed the apples:

Then, we pressed them and made the cider:
And voila! Cider!
Other adventures this week included rock climbing. This was my first time rock climbing and it was wayyyyy harder than I expected! Who knew that your forearms could hurt so much? The serious climbers there are super impressive. I’ll definitely be going again in the future.
Rock climbing
Saw this sign in Northern Liberties. We could use more of these around the city:
Caught a glimpse of myself before Students Run practice the other day and realized that I was destined to be a Phys. Ed. teacher based on my attire. What do you think? Still time?
Mel and I went for a much needed run on Sunday to our favorite spot.
We ended up chatting for a while and walking halfway back, because we both needed a good venting session. Sometimes you just need to hang out with your best friend and be yourself.
Public service announcement for anyone that wants to start working out (taken from Kayla Itsines’ Instagram):
Saw this desk sign in a store this weekend and realized that I need it…anyone want to buy me a gift? 😉
My go-to dinner lately has been shrimp tacos – both nutritious and delicious! I use soy sauce and lemon juice to sautee the shrimp and it’s amazing (thanks, Mom for that combo):
And last, but definitely not least, my “Bill Clinton America’s First Gentleman” pin has come out of storage. My friend and I saw Bill Clinton speak back in 2008 when Hillary considered running for President. Despite his personal actions while in office, I loved hearing him speak. I’ve been waiting to wear this pin for a longggg time:
Get out and vote on Tuesday, everyone! It’s our right in the U.S. that we shouldn’t take for granted.
Reminder that online Run Life Co. tank top sales will be discontinued very soon! Take $10 now with discount code “LASTCHANCE” at checkout. They make great holiday gifts!!
Hope you enjoyed my over-sharing for today. Have a great week, friends!

Purpose Behind Run Life Co. & Last Chance for Tank Tops

I was speaking with an interviewer at Temple a few weeks ago. He asked about Run Life Co., why I started the company, and several other questions as to how the company came into existence. He then asked how I came up with the name and if there is meaning behind “Run Life Co.”

The answer? Yes, there is meaning behind the words.

Even before Run Life Co. was started, running had been a huge part of my life. It taught me self-discipline, teamwork (even as an individual sport), how to work towards a goal, and how to push through physical, mental, and emotional pain. Running put me on a positive life path and made me who I am today. I wouldn’t want myself or my life to be any different. That is the reason behind the name of the company – running gives me life – as it does for many other people.

All that being said, I’ve made a decision about the future of the company. While the clothing was put in place to create funding for youth mentoring, it hasn’t been supporting the mission as strongly as I would like. It takes a lot of capital, time, and energy to first design and manufacture the apparel, then to sell it. While I enjoy the clothing aspect, I enjoy the blogging and media, and especially the community, that has come from Run Life Co. even more. For that reason, online sales of Run Life Co. tank tops will be discontinued in the near future. I hope to incorporate clothing again one day, but a bigger impact can be made through the media and storytelling of Run Life Co. right now. I am starting a podcast and continuing the blog in the meantime – telling both my own and other runners’ stories about why they run and how it has impacted their lives.

Clothing will still be available for purchase online through October, possibly a little longer, but then it will only be sold at special in-person events. For now, all tanks are $17.99 for the remainder of October. Use code “LASTCHANCE” at checkout to apply the discount. Only limited quantities are still available in each size so I recommend purchasing them sooner, rather than later. I appreciate everyone’s support for the clothing line. It’s been a fun venture and will continue in the future. For now, you all have once-in-a-lifetime designs that may never be repeated. Pretty cool!

Thanks once again for your support. I’ll talk to you again soon! 🙂

Back to School Edition: Interview with Megan Stoner, Vice President of Temple’s Running Club

Today, we meet Megan Stoner, Temple University’s Running Club former President and current Vice President. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Megan several times. She’s charming, personable, hard-working, and is an awesome runner. Take a few minutes to check out her story below for running inspiration!
(Ladies of the Temple Running Club in their Run Repeat tanks.)

Q:  When and why did you begin running?
A:  I started running long distance four years ago. Six years ago, I was placed in my high school’s track sprint team and dreaded going to practice. I never made varsity at the track meets. I finally discovered long distance was for me my junior year, and joined the long distance running team my senior year. The biggest influence was my sister, Sam, who was in cross country at the time, and encouraged me to try long distance.


(Megan in her Keep Philly Fit tank – check out her fitness Instagram here.)

Q:  How did you become President (now Vice President) of the Temple Running Club? How long have you been an officer?
A:  I joined the Temple Running Club as a freshman, where I was able to get to know everyone, which at the time was essentially seven people. During my sophomore year, I became more invested in the club because that’s when it was in the process of being an official organization at Temple University.

Shoutout to the co-founders of the club – Amy, Dom, Erica, Kaitlyn, Matt, and others! It wouldn’t be the club it is today without all of their hard work. All of the co-founders, and officers, were graduating, which left another sophomore runner, Zach, and myself as Co-Presidents from Spring 2015 to Spring 2016. This year, I will be Vice President alongside President Barry and four other awesome officers!

Temple Running Club
(Some of the club founders at Relay for Life in 2013)

Q:  What do you love about running?
A:  I love the discipline it teaches. I wake up early almost every morning to run, and there are some days where I just don’t feel like it. Sometimes I let those days win, because you need rest days. But the days I conquer, those are the best days. After a run, I feel accomplished, full of energy, and ready to take on whatever challenges come my way.


(Back on My Feet Track Meet 2015)
Q:  What is your favorite place to run?
A:  My perfect run would be right at sunrise along a river trail. The water is so pretty to look at and it also brings a nice breeze. (Kelly Drive is probably my favorite in Philly).

Q:  What has been your favorite race? Why?
A:  I have to go with my first half marathon as my favorite race to date, the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November 2014. It was perfect running weather – about 48 degrees when it started at 7am. My goal finish time was under 2 hours. With the help of a running friend Lakin for the first six miles, I was able to start strong and keep an average pace of 8:23min/mile finishing at 1:49:99.


(Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 2015)
Q:  What are some of your other hobbies outside of running?
A:  When I’m not running, I’m relaxing with a good book or painting on canvas with a cup of coffee.

Q:  What’s your favorite workout other than running?
A:  Pilates! It’s great for the core (ab workouts are my fav).

(Love Park Run 2014)

Q:  What running shoe are you wearing right now?
A:  Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 (Color: Hawaiian Ocean)

Q:  Do you have a favorite pump-up song?
A:  “Trust In You” by Lauren Daigle (not your typical running jam… but it keeps my mind focused on The One above)

Q:  Have any tips for new runners or people trying to get back into running?
A:  Find your motivation. What or who are you running for? What is your goal? Ask yourself these questions and write down your purpose and goals. Hang them up where you see it every day. Tell them to other people. Sign up for a race. Make a weekly schedule. I do all these things to keep my mind focused, and if you persevere through whatever it is holding you back, you will learn the true meaning of mind over matter.


(Back on My Feet Track Meet 2015)

Q:  What’s next for you? Have any races lined up or a big running goal?
A:  I plan on running for awhile, even well after I graduate next year and say goodbye to the Temple Running Club. I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon this November, so I’m excited to see if I will run my best (I’m shooting for an average 8:15min/mile pace).

Thanks so much for the interview, Megan! Follow her fitness Instagram @itsmfitness for more on Megan.

Want to share your running story? Email me at jessica@runlifeco.com. I would love to feature you in a Run Life Co. blog post!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!