Archive for the ‘Women’s Running’Category

Post-Baby Running Goals: 13.1 and 26.2!

Post-Baby Running Goals: 13.1 + 26.2

Tackling my running goals 8 months post-baby in Boston.

“Don’t call it a come back…” Nearly one year ago, I had a baby. Over the course of that year, I clawed my way back to running. A massage gun is a handheld tool that massages muscles by providing rapid bursts of pressure in concentrated, short-duration pulses, if you are interested to get one visit Think of a mini-jackhammer, but for your muscles.

I wanted to give myself 9 months to get back into shape. It takes that long to make a baby, so I figured I’d give my body an equal amount of time to unmake it, so to speak. I focused on getting my fitness and speed back before even contemplating upping my mileage and endurance. Why? It’s just what I could wrap my brain around and, honestly, all I had time for.

So over the course of those 9 months I raced three 5Ks and a 4-ish-mile trail run. I didn’t follow any particular training plan. At first, I just ran however far or fast I could muster that day. Eventually, I threw in some faster workouts. And only recently have I started upping my mileage.

Now, I’m training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, and a marathon later in the spring! I really wanted to target one year post-baby for some big running goals. The Disney Princess Half just happens to perfectly coincide with my daughter’s first birthday, so we’re going to Disney!

I’m not even going to pretend that her first Disney trip is for her. It’s 95 percent for me and maybe 5 percent for her. She’s registered for the Diaper Dash, and has been crawling up a storm in training. Who knows, she might even be walking by then.

And me? The current plan is to run this one as hard as I can (Florida weather permitting) and see where that gets me. And, yes, there will be costumes. Read the rest of this entry →

Running Through Pregnancy And Beyond…

Running Through Pregnancy & Beyond

Running through pregnancy & beyond: 10 months postpartum

In the words of the immortal Austin Powers, I’m back, baby, yeah! And I have a baby! An actual human being! Baby K was born on February 21, 2017, 7 pounds and 7 ounces of pure magic.

Running Through Pregnancy & Beyond

At birth

The 10 months since then have been a mixture of magic and mayhem, sleepless nights and snuggles, and an attempt to find my new normal.

Running Through Pregnancy & Beyond

10 Months Old!

Running Through Pregnancy

During pregnancy and the months afterward everything non-essential fell by the wayside. I had a healthy, textbook pregnancy that included plenty of nausea, exhaustion, swollen feet, and the like. But I kept on running through it all, up until Week 38, when running became just too uncomfortable.

I wrote about running through pregnancy for Shape and Redbook:

Running Through Pregnancy & Beyond

Running at 30 weeks

The Ups and Downs of Running for Two

Or, how to run 13.1 miles during your second trimester without vomiting everywhere. Yup, running for two hasn’t always been an easy road. But it has been #worthit.

How Running During Pregnancy Prepared Me For Giving Birth

Running during pregnancy was a lot like giving birth. There were good, bad, and downright ugly moments. But pounding the pavement was worth every ~bump~ in the road.

Running Beyond Pregnancy

I got back to running when my doctor cleared me at 5.5 weeks postpartum. Yeah, that wasn’t easy. I felt like the entire contents of my pelvis were going to fall out during those first few runs. But I took it easy and stuck with it. Plus, my runs were the only time I got to myself. I relished being able to get outside on my own, no matter how difficult it might be.

I read somewhere that it takes as long to recover from having a baby as it does to build a baby—nine months. I found that to be right for me. I initially had delusions of running a fall marathon. By summer I realized that was a pie-in-the-sky dream. Just getting out for a 30-minute run was either a carefully orchestrated ballet or a strike-while-the-iron-is-hot occurrence. I stayed home with K full-time for the first seven months, and relied on a network of friends, family, and paid babysitters to squeeze in workouts. I often had to choose: nap or run. Sometimes nap won. Sometimes run won.

Running Through Pregnancy & Beyond

6 months postpartum

As a result, it’s taken me so much longer to rebuild my mileage post-baby than I thought it would—thanks to sleepless nights, pervasive exhaustion, breastfeeding a bottle-refusing baby, and, at times, limited babysitting resources. There were times I felt like I’d never get back into half-marathon or marathon shape. Then I remembered, I’ll get there: one step at a time, figuratively & literally.

To help me, I ran a benchmark 5K in April to give myself a baseline starting point. Then I ran two more 5Ks and a trail race through the summer and fall to check in on my progress. The last was a Turkey Trot during Thanksgiving weekend.

Prognosis? Positive! I feel fast and strong. Baby and I still don’t sleep as much as I’d like, but I’ve got a regular babysitter, I take naps, and I’m ready to dive back into training.

So here goes: 2018 is my comeback.

Happy New Year!


Dec 2017

Running Through Life’s Biggest Moments

Running Through Life's Biggest Moments

Running through life’s smallest and biggest moments (

My husband, Phil, and I keep a mental list of the best things we’ve done as a couple. Some of our running exploits are definitely Top 10. Running through life has definitely been fun.

But the Top 3 are (and we’re in complete agreement on these):

1) Adopt Cinderella

Our beloved doghter easily takes the top spot. She brings so much joy to our lives. All I have to do after a bad day is simply look at Cinderella and I feel instantly better. She is the furry love of our lives.

2) Move In Together

This was the big commitment. We tackled the tough life decisions before that point because we didn’t want to move forward unless we both thought this was it. Thankfully, it was.

3) Get Married

Some people told us, “You’ll see, it’s so different once you’re married.” Meh, not really. It was so different once we moved in together. That was the really big step for us. I was never the girl who dreamed about her wedding. But throwing a wedding was pretty darn fun.

Running Through Life's Biggest Moments

15 weeks preggers in Quebec (

Of course, we ran through it all.

Now, we’ve got another potential list-topper in the hopper.

Yep, I’m pregnant. I’m 20 weeks—almost 5 months along—and half-way to my due date. Cinderella 2 is due in early February. It’s a girl! I’m running through life’s next challenge. Read the rest of this entry →


Sep 2016

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2017 Registration Opens

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2017 Registration Opens

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2017 registration opens soon. (Disney)

Registration for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2017 Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry opens Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 12 p.m. Eastern. The women-focused race weekend takes place from May 11-14, 2017 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The race is the third largest women’s running event in the U.S. with 11,435 finishers in 2015.

In addition to the title half marathon, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2017 Weekend also includes the Pixie Dust Challenge presented by PANDORA Jewelry, Tinker Bell 10K presented by PANDORA Jewelry, Never Land 5K presented by PANDORA Jewelry, and runDisney Kids Races.

The runDisney Health and Fitness Expo is free and open to the public Thursday, May 11 through Saturday, May 13. That’s where runners pick-up their bibs and race gear, find official runDisney merchandise, along with the coveted runDisney New Balance shoes, other retailers showcasing running apparel and products, and more. Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2017 Registration

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2017 Registration

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2017 Registration opens July 12. (Walt Disney World)

Registration for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals opens Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 12 p.m. ET. The women-focused race weekend will take place at Walt Disney World in Florida from February 23-26, 2017. The race is the second largest women’s running event in the U.S. with 20,138 finishers in 2016.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Registration Opens


The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend includes the titular Disney Princess Half Marathon, Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, Disney Princess 5K, runDisney Kids Races, and Disney Glass Slipper Challenge.

The Challenge asks runners to complete both the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday for a total of 19.3 miles. They’ll earn three medals total: one for each race and one for the Challenge. To qualify, runners must register for the Challenge, not each race individually.

The free runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex also takes place from Thursday through Saturday. The Expo is the only place runners can find shoes in the New Balance runDisney Collection.

During race registration, runners can also purchase the VIP Race Retreat Package with access to a suite of pre- and post-race amenities.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon takes runners from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back, including a run through Cinderella Castle. The 10K and 5K courses traditionally run through Epcot and the Disney BoardWalk area. Read the rest of this entry →

CardioGlow Fit Fashion Giveaway

CardioGlow Fit Fashion Giveaway

Fit Fashion: Courtesy of CardioGlow (

It’s giveaway time, thanks to CardioGlow! CardioGlow is a new online boutique filled with stylish, curated, and affordable fit fashion, brought to you by none other than my sister, Kathleen.

You’ve seen CardioGlow curated looks all over my Instagram feed. And now you can nab some too.

CardioGlow Fit Fashion Giveaway

Running in CardioGlow curated gear. (

To celebrate the opening of her online shop, we’re giving away four full outfits—including top, sports bra, bottoms, and hoodie—to four lucky winners. I’ll choose two winners at random from here on the blog and two winners from Instagram. The giveaway is open now through July 4, 2016.

Winners will pick between these two looks.

CardioGlow Fit Fashion Giveaway

CardioGlow capris look (

CardioGlow Fit Fashion Giveaway

CardioGlow Skirt look (

Read the rest of this entry →


Jun 2016

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 is the 5th anniversary of the event. (runDisney)

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry from May 5-8 at Disneyland in California celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2016. I’m returning to the race for the first time since the inaugural event to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom.

The women’s focused running festival includes the title half-marathon, Tinker Bell 10K, Never Land 5K, Pixie Dust Challenge (running the 10K and half-marathon), runDisney Kids Races, and runDisney Health & Fitness Expo, where runners can buy shoes in the coveted New Balance runDisney Collection.

I’m flying through the Pixie Dust Challenge, courtesy of runDisney, and pacing my mother through her first 10K at the Tinker Bell 10K. She did her first 5K with me at the Walt Disney World 5K in 2014.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Pausing for a pic in Epcot with my mom during the Walt Disney World 5K. (Photo:

Two years later, she’s upping the distance before she turns 70 in just four months.

Tinker Bell is the perfect race. My mom was Tinker Bell for Halloween when she was a little girl, not once, but twice. The movie came out in 1953, when she was just 7 years old.

On top of it all, she hasn’t been to Disneyland in 38 years. What a way to celebrate Mother’s Day and usher in a new decade!

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

We’re ready to run! (

I even bought her the New Balance runDisney Tinker Bell Boracay shoes last year. She’s wearing them for the race, naturally.

Good luck if you’re running this weekend! Here’s a look at every fairy’s favorite race by the numbers.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

2nd star to the right and straight on till morning! (runDisney)

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

24,000 total race registrants for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 Weekend

15,000 runners from California

10,700 participants in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

4,600 runners in the Tinker Bell 10K

4,300 registrants in the Pixie Dust Challenge

4,200 participants in the Never Land 5K

1,500 kids in the runDisney Kids Races

950 runners who have tackled the Tinker Bell Half Marathon all five years Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Lauren Passell wins the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon (runDisney)

The Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 Weekend kicked off February 18 and runs, literally, through the title event on February 21 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The three-day extravaganza is the largest women’s running festival in the U.S. with 37,000 runners across multiple events: Disney Princess Half Marathon, Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, Disney Princess 5K and runDisney Kids Races.

Take a look at the numbers behind the princesses.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Runners at Princess Half (runDisney)

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

285,900—combined miles adult runners will complete over the course of Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

250,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

99,178—number of Cinderella’s Glass Slippers, lined up heel to toe, it takes to cover the 13.1 miles of the Disney Princess Half Marathon

37,000—registered runners for the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 Weekend Read the rest of this entry →

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Ariel Vazee Pace (

“Up where they walk, up where they run…” at runDisney, of course! The Little Mermaid’s Ariel is now part of the New Balance runDisney world as the star of the latest shoes in the 2016 Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Collection.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Ariel! (

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of New Balance shoes. “Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl…the girl who has everything?”

Well, now I do! New Balance generously sent me a pair of the Ariel Vazee Pace runDisney shoes to preview!

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

My precious (

Look at that stuff! Isn’t it neat?

I love this limited edition New Balance packaging for the runDisney shoes and the goodies inside.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

New box (

This isn’t any ordinary shoe box. The shoes rest within a Snow White-style sleeping case.

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Unboxing (

After unboxing the kicks, I find an Alice in Wonderland-style “Open Me.”

New Balance Ariel runDisney Shoes First Look

Open Me (

What does it reveal? More goodies! Read the rest of this entry →

Running In Hawai’i From Kona To Kaua’i

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (

The Honolulu Marathon is Sunday! I’ve been having an incredible—and I mean incredible—time running in Hawai’i. Over the last eight days I’ve run, hiked, SUPed, sailed, swum, summited, star-gazed, and so much more on Hawai’i, the Big Island, and on Maui.

The Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau at sponsored and helped me plan the trip so I can experience active Hawai’i at its best. Now I’m on O’ahu for the big race and headed to Kaua’i after that.

But this isn’t my first rodeo in Hawai’i. In 2013, I ran the Kaua’i Half Marathon and published a few stories at, in Women’s Running magazine, and Canadian Running magazine about the race, Kaua’i, Hawai’i Island, and points beyond. Thought I’d share them here. Aloha!

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Phil Hospod)

Healthy Travel Guide: Kona, Hawai’i at

Sure, Hawai’i invokes dreams of lazy days on sandy beaches sipping umbrella drinks. But every year, more than 2,300 triathletes trek to Kona on Hawai’i Island to make it big—Big Island big—at the Ironman World Championship.

But you don’t have to be an Ironman to swim, bike, run, or get your sweat on in Kailua-Kona, the triathlon mecca of the world. Hawai’i’s residents are the second most prolific runners in the U.S., with only Massachusetts logging more miles per capita on RunKeeper. The state also has the second lowest obesity levels in the U.S., behind only Colorado, according to Retale.

It’s no wonder. Running is Hawai’i is a dream come true. Just north of Kona, the rugged black lava fields give way to sunny, white sand beaches on the Kohala Coast, where water sports abound. The area came in seventh on our list of the healthiest beach towns in America, while the Kona District ranked 19th. (Find them all in The 35 Best Beaches in America For Fitness Lovers). Inland, Waimea is home to Hawai’i’s tallest mountain, the snowcapped Mauna Kea, which rises 13,796 feet and has hiking and horseback trails galore. And we can’t forget Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, with 150 miles of hiking trails around one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Yep, we said volcanoes.

Inspired to get your Ironman on? Hawai’i Island makes healthy travel easy with year round warm weather, world class sporting events, mountains and more. Say Aloha to Kona!

Find out where to sleep, stay in shape, fuel your trip, splurge, and play in Kona at

Running in Hawai'i From Kona To Kaua'i

Rainbow run in Kaua’i (Phil Hospod)

Kauai Is The Ultimate Vacation For Runners in Women’s Running

The least-visited of Hawaii’s major islands, Kauai is the Aloha State’s best-kept secret. Only 1.1 million of Hawaii’s 8.2 million visitors annually venture to Kauai. But runners in the know head to the Garden Isle for technical mountain trails between lushly green volcanic peaks, flat recreation paths with ocean views and one of America’s most scenic—and challenging—marathons. The island is best explored on foot (in fact, 90 percent of Kauai is inaccessible by vehicle!), so lace up your shoes and get ready to sweat. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: New Balance Reach the Beach Relay

Race Report: New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

Girls Run Beta! (Reach The Beach)

6,000 runners. 500 teams. 201 miles. 32 hours. 12 women. 2 vans. 1 state. Put New Balance Reach The Beach Relay in the bag! I ran as a guest of New Balance, who covered all my expenses and kitted me out in gear for the event as part of the “Girls Run Beta” media team. And it was amazing.

Race Report: New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

Girls Run Beta! (Carrie Kabat)

The New Balance Reach The Beach Relay, in partnership with the Ragnar Relay Series, takes teams of 12 runners 201 miles across New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore.

The scenery was lovely, my teammates fantastic, and the overall experience amazing. It’s no wonder I’ve only heard great things about this race.

The fun levels were off the charts. We giggled, we danced, we ate, then ate some more, we told ghost stories, high-fived, commiserated and cheered. While looking for Jess during a night run, I busted out an impromptu rendition of “There’s a Light (Over At The Frankenstein Place) from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Another team called “Snoop Joggy Jog” inspired some “Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay” at our side-of-the-road dance party. Carrie and Dani played DJ with boy bands greatest hits. And the gummy bears flowed like water.

Race Report: New Balance Reach The Beach Relay

Van 1! (Photo:

We worked as a team. Carrie finished her legs with a cart-wheel (true story) and chauffeured us from spot to spot. Dani was co-pilot and speedy anchor leg. Rachel recruited her dad’s team to cheer us on, and taught us the art of the silent scream (pictured). Jess kept a log of our start and finish times, and shared her Aleve when an afternoon migraine threatened to derail my second run. Kylie gave me her seat in the van to lay down. When it was time to suit me up mid-run with reflective vest and lights, the entire team swarmed me as my pit crew.

I was water girl, filling up and passing out water bottles to the finishing runner or the runner on the road—in one case jogging along side Dani for a brief stint so she didn’t have to stop. I also shared my massage stick with the team and Carrie shared her foam roller, so we could all stay limber.

In other words, the race was truly a team effort. You can see for yourself in this video New Balance put together for us.

Read the rest of this entry →

Ready For New Balance Reach The Beach 2015 Relay!

Ready For New Balance Reach The Beach 2015

(Photo: Reach The Beach Relay)

201 miles. 12 women. 1 state. And 1 unforgettable experience. I’m ready for the New Balance Reach The Beach 2015 Relay! I’m running as a guest of New Balance with the “Girls Run Beta” media team! New Balance has kitted me out (along with all the other team members) for the occasion. I’ll also be taking a tour of the New Balance Global Headquarters in Boston before taking on the trails and roads of New Hampshire.

Ready For New Balance Reach The Beach 2015 Relay

Vistas! (Photo: Reach The Beach)

New Balance Reach The Beach 2015 Relay

The New Balance Reach The Beach Relay, in partnership with the Ragnar Relay Series, takes teams of 12 runners 201 miles across New Hampshire, from the White Mountains to Hampton Beach State Park on the Atlantic shore. Mountain vistas, serene lakes, and a covered bridge or two are on the menu. I can’t wait!

Teams start in waves from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday and have until 8 p.m. on Saturday to finish. We’re expected to maintain a pace of 10 minutes per mile or thereabouts for a total of 33.5 hours running.

“Girls Run Beta” starts at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, so we have exactly 33.5 hours until 8 p.m. Saturday. The pressure is on to maintain that 10 minute per mile pace. I’ll be racing each mile as fast as I can. I’m aiming to stick as close to my 9:00-9:10 half marathon pace as possible, but we’ll see how I fare with the hills, multi-legs, and longer distances. As long as I’m at a 10:00 or faster, I’ll be happy!

Ready For New Balance Reach The Beach 2015 Relay

Hand off! (Photo: Reach The Beach)

Most teams include 12 runners, who finish three legs each. Leg distances vary wildly from 2.5 miles to 10.9. Each team member runs 12 to 20 miles total, depending on the legs they’re assigned. We have a designated order that dictates which legs we run, always in the same rotation. So Runner #1 does Legs 1, 13, and 25. Runner #2 does Legs 2, 14, and 26, and so on. We pass off a slap bracelet between runners as our baton.

As with distance, the difficulty of each leg varies as well. Reach The Beach 2015 uses four descriptors to classify legs: Easy, Moderate, Hard, and Very Hard. There are nine “Easy” legs, 13 “Moderate” legs, nine “Hard” legs and five “Very Hard” Legs.

Me? I drew a Hard, Very Hard, and Hard for a total of 19.8 miles. No other runner has all three legs with “Hard” in the name. Everyone else gets at least one easy or moderate leg. And I’m tied for the second highest mileage overall. What did I get myself into??? An adventure, it would seem! Here’s goes something!

Ready For New Balance Reach The Beach 2015 Relay!

Leg 1

Karla’s Leg 1

Start Time: 10:30 a.m.
Classification: Hard
Miles: 2.5

I have the honor of kicking off the race as Runner #1 on our team. Woohoo! This is the shortest leg of the race, but also the steepest. It takes me 954 feet up a mountain in 1.25 miles, then down just as quickly. Gulp. It’s apparently known as the “hero” leg: “For the mountain goats on your team.”

Um, that’s not me. If I’ve written it once, I’ve written it a hundred times: I swim like a fish and hike like a fish. I’ve run exactly one trail race in my life, this summer in Turkey at the Runfire Cappadocia 20K. And I didn’t even finish. Because I got lost. Oh boy. (You can read about it at What It Took to Conquer (Part of) the Runfire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon in Turkey)

In my defense, I did run three days in a row during the Runfire Cappadocia Ultra Marathon through the Turkish desert, with the heat index peaking above 100 degrees, for a total of 24 miles. If anything, that experience should have prepared me well for this. (More to come on that soon!)

Running the “hero” leg is poetic justice. In my story about Runfire Cappadocia, I wrote:

I wanted to be an ultra marathoner for all my days. What does it take to run through the scorching Turkish desert? The willingness to be a hero “for ever and ever,” as David Bowie sang. Or, you know, just for one day.

Looks like I’ll be eating my own words! Read the rest of this entry →

Tips & Tricks To #RunForFun

Tips & Tricks To #RunForFun

Make your next run fun! (Photo:

Want to put more fun in your run? I do! Check out Shape and Fitness Magazines30 Day #RunForFun Challenge, designed to get you moving each day and having fun.

Fitness reached out to me—along with 29 other runners—for a fave run-for-fun tip. I promise you’ll find a few new-to-you ideas that will refresh your next outing. I certainly did, like…

Day 9: Play ‘I Spy’
Day 11: Pick A Feel-Good Scent
Day 16: Let your S.O. or BFF make your playlist
Day 22: Wear a Sign
Day 23: Collect Coins

I’ve never done any of those! Some of the other tips are oldies but goldies that I keep in my arsenal, and seeing them again is a great reminder. 

My tip is Day 12 of the challenge. If you’ve ever read my blog before, you can probably guess it pretty easily. Did you guess right?

30-Day Running Challenge: 30 Ways to #RunForFun

But in addition to my tip in the 30-Day #RunForFun Challenge, here are five other tricks I use to keep me fleet of feet and young at heart.

RunKarlaRun’s #RunForFun Tricks

Tips & Tricks To #RunForRun

We can make believe… (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Play Mind Games:
Who says pretend is just for kids? You’re a great white shark chasing seals. You’re running to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. Watch out, a velociraptor is chasing you! Ahhh! My favorite? I’m a lion hunting gazelles. I don’t sprint, I stalk. And I pick off runners in front of me slowly. One. By. One. Playing pretend while I run keeps me entertained for miles and miles.

Put Your Music On Shuffle:
When you have no idea what song might come next, every few minutes bring a pleasant surprise. I’ll put my entire MP3 player—all 700 songs—on shuffle to keep my music unpredictable. Sure, I have to skip a song here and there, but shuffle is one of my favorite ways to keep my run fresh.

Forgotten jams often inspire a fist pump. “I Got A Man” by Positive K anyone? Or “Wonder Woman” aka the ’70s TV show theme song? Or “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring? And sometimes I discover unexpected songs that are great for running like “Trying My Best To Love You” by Jenny Lewis. Would have never put that one on a running mix, but it really peps me when it pops up. I get lost in the lyrics and dig deep for those few minutes. Read the rest of this entry →

What I Learned From My Years As A Model & Runner

What I Learned From My Years As A Model & Runner

Me as a 22-year-old model

We all know that Women’s Running magazine made a splash for putting shapely model Erica Schenk on their magazine cover last month. I’ve written for Women’s Running (check out: Kauai Is The Ultimate Vacation For Runners), and praised their move on Twitter.

I’ve watched with interest how the fashion industry and the running world alike have started to—but not fully—address the normative images of beauty, health, and fitness. Most recently, France banned the use of models with a BMI of under 18 from working in the country. Israel, Italy and Spain have similar measures in place.

I used to be one of those models. That’s me 15 years ago. Thigh gap? I had it.



I rarely talk about my former life as a model. In fact, this is the first time I’ve written about it here. My brief stint in the fashion industry left a sour taste in my mouth. Working as a model made me susceptible to unhealthy habits that may have made me skinny, but certainly not fit. When I started running—12 years younger and 12 pounds lighter than I am now—I fit the stereotype of what a runner “looked” like. People used to assume I was fast because I was skinny. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

All too often we equate fitness with thinness. And that’s why I was happy to see Schenk on the cover of Women’s Running. Because we all know that a runner doesn’t look like any one thing, doesn’t run at any one speed, and that fitness has little to do with weight. You see people of all shapes and sizes toward the front, in the middle, and in the back of the pack at races.



It’s taken time, but I’m more comfortable in my skin now than I was then. These photos (all un-retouched) were taken about 15 years apart. Don’t I even look happier?

I wrote about my experience as a model—and lessons learned—for It wasn’t even my idea. My editor twisted my arm into writing an essay after she learned about my past life. After some hesitation, I finally gave in. Here it is.

From Stilettos to Sneakers: How Quitting Modeling Made Me Healthier and Happier

Confession: I used to model. I was young, I was beautiful, and I didn’t know it. I stumbled into modeling as a lanky musical theater performer in New York City. After one model scout, then another, stopped me on the street, I found an agency. I figured it beat waiting tables. I was 22 years old and had an “underweight” BMI of 18.2. “Normal” starts at 18.5, according to the National Institutes of Health.



But I didn’t think of myself as a model. I was shocked every time someone hired me: major-market magazines, brands you see in Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, boutiques, hair care companies, and morning talk shows. Showrooms—where I modeled a brand’s wares for buyers from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and other big-name stores—were my bread and butter, but I did some print, TV, and runway too. I was never a top girl, but one of the nameless, sometimes faceless minions selling an image of beauty of which I didn’t believe myself worthy.

At go-sees (modeling lingo for auditions), I faced a barrage of physical critiques. I heard I was too short, too tall, too old, too young, too fat, or too thin. I was too everything and not enough of anything. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

My sis high-fives Mickey at the finish. (Photo: MarathonFoto)

How much fun did my sister and I have at the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon? Her Mickey Mouse high-five at the finish line pretty much says it all.

When my sister decided to run her first half-marathon, there was no doubt which race it would be. She’d run her first 5K with me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in 2012. As a family, we did everything there was to do at the time: Pasta in the Park Party, Kids Races, 5K, and my husband and I ran the Half Marathon.

So naturally, we decided to return for my sister’s 13.1 debut in 2015. I attended the race as a media guest of runDisney to write a story for about our experience. You can read it here: Why I’d Rather Run With Women.

First, we tackled the Disney Princess Frozen 5K dressed as Disney’s most infamous sisters, Cinderella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella Tremaine. We had too much fun, despite wearing tank tops in a 33-degree race.

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5K

Anastasia and Drizella (Photo: runDisney)

Then, I ran the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K on my own, dressed as Cinderella in tatters, just so I could earn that beautiful Glass Slipper Challenge medal.

Finally, for the half-marathon, our choice was obvious. My sister and I are totally Elsa and Anna. Right down to our birth order, hair, coloring, and temperaments, she’s definitely an Elsa and I’m completely an Anna. We’re a match made in runDisney heaven.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Elsa & Anna! (Photo: MarathonFoto)

Yup, we learned to love team costumes from an early age.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Twinsies! (Photo:

Disney Princess Half Marathon: The Course

The Disney Princess Half Marathon takes runners from just outside Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

The Course

The first five miles are a long, and sometimes lonely, stretch of road on the way to Magic Kingdom. Disney lines this section of the course with bands, DJs, and character stops, but at other parts you’ll simply hear the sound of 20,000 pairs of feet pattering away.

Highlights of the first five miles include the car entrance to the Magic Kingdom near Mile 3, which makes for a great photo opp.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Friends Tara and Lesa are runDisney photo superstars! (Photo: runDisney)

Throngs of spectators and Taiko drummers at the Ticket & Transportation Center near Mile 4 always give me a boost.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Drummers! (Photo: runDisney)

And a dancing DJ pumping tunes at the overpass leading to the Contemporary Resort near Mile 5 is also a fave of mine.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Dancing DJ at the overpass (Photo: runDisney)

Mile 5 to 6 is by far the most exciting of the course: the run through Magic Kingdom. No matter how many times I do it, it never gets old.

From the Mile 5 marker, the course is lined with Disney cast members and spectators cheering you on. You’ll hear them before you see them—the roar of the crowds waiting on Main Street USA as you run toward Cinderella Castle. I get so pumped every time.

But before the castle, you’ll turn into Tomorrowland, run through the back of Fantasyland, then through Cinderella Castle from the carousel side and out the front. There are tons of characters, photo opps, and course photographers along the way in Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, before the castle, through the castle, and in front of the castle.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

We nailed our Cinderella Castle shot! (Photo: MarathonFoto)

Then you’ll turn into Liberty Square before exiting the park through Frontierland. You’ll find a few more characters awaiting you in this section as you pass the Mile 6 marker and again once you exit the park. Read the rest of this entry →