Who Are Your Running Friends?

I’ve had a lot of changes recently and not ones that I like. So it got me thinking, you have your friends and then your running/workout friends. I have my friends and most of the are also my running/workout friends but most of the time they are 2 different groups of friends.

I was reminded of this today when I saw a post of someone who said they ran by themselves. But are we ever really alone when we run? There’s a support group that is supporting you that doesn’t run every single run with you. There is a group of friends that just does not get it as well. They are the ones that usually ask the questions of why do you do this and if a marathon is how long?. I mean really?! But not everyone is into this running thing as we are, I get that. But still don’t you think that everyone knows that a marathon is 26.2 miles?!

This year has been so different for me, and even though I’m training for marathon #5 and #6, it’s still new to me. And I don’t have the the support I have taken for granted. Only a few people know of the new struggles I’m facing and most of those people are not anywhere near me. They are what I call my virtual running buddies. I’ve maybe met them for 5 minutes or spent a weekend with them, but they don’t live near me. I have a few that do and am so lucky that they share in my obsession of running. And even my friend this morning claimed to say that I’m the one that made her sign up for her first marathon. HAHA. I don’t remember signing her up and saying “hey, you’re doing this with me.” but we are such good friends that I’ll take it and glad to say that I’m glad to have her along for the ride. One of my best running friends and best friends forever lives in Missouri! That’s 800 miles from where I am!

But without these friends, virtual or not, I don’t know if I would be the runner I am today. I mean for the ones that don’t live around me to text me and ask how I am or to offer support when they have spent maybe all of 5 minutes at the finish line of a race with me. I can’t complain. I’ve made lots of good running friends through social media and they have help make me the person I am today.

Who do you credit with helping you become the person you are today, runner or not?

Survival Mode to Self Confidence and So Much More

I will admit that I was on self destruct mode for the last 2 or 3 years most likely even longer than that. The last few years were not easy in all factors of life. I definitely put myself on the back burner to just survive, and it showed in everything I did. My running suffered, my weight, self image, my relationships, everything suffered!

My self confidence suffered, I was buying clothes in sizes that I’ve never bought before and I was getting slower in my running. Things that are not fun to see happen. I would wonder who would like me if I continued down this path. Β I would get my wits about me and be like “OK Kristin, this is the plan for this week…” and then it would go to hell and a hand basket by the second day. I would start other workout plans or ideas that popped in my head. And by day three, I would be on my usual plan and be stuck. Not fun if you ask me, but at this point I was just surviving.

Towards the end of 2016, I wanted to make a change, but still didn’t. I ran 2 marathons which were epic in itself, made more awesome running friends and I still did not make the change. I look at pictures from back then and have a hard time believing that I let myself get that far down the rabbit hole before I was ready to pull myself out of it. Again, this was all survival mode. I was lucky that the people in my life didn’t see my size or lack of self confidence. I guess this is where you could say I’ve learned how to put on a really good front.

2017 started and I’m doing my own thing and trying to decide what I wanted to do for myself this year. I knew I was running 1 marathon, maybe 2. But what did I want to do for me. Change needed to happen and it’s not something that comes easy. Most of us dislike change and therefore throw our hands up in the face of it to try to stop it. The rabbit hole had consumed me enough and I knew I had to make a change because I wasn’t being fair to myself anymore.

About 2 months ago, I sucked it up and contacted the nice people over at Macros and Muscles Nutrition because I had been to a talk they gave and was intrigued by the their attitude towards food and life. I had some questions, so I mustered up the confidence to email them since I’m no cross-fitter. I’m a runner, a gym going person (sometimes) and trying to get my confidence up to get myself back in the pool. How could this whole, If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), work for me? They were kind enough to get back to me, and since I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I figured why not. It’s a 3 month commitment and if I don’t like it or if it’s not working for me, I can cancel at that point. So I filled out the questionnaire and sent in all my info and pictures. Insert shocked face here, because the measurements were definitely an eye opener. WOW! And not to mention the picture I sent it. Holy goodness…not what I expected either. Now more than ever, this change needed to happen.

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Yeah, being completely real here.

So what is this, IIFYM stuff? It’s actually quite simple. I have a certain number of grams of fat, carbs and protein that I need to get to every day. So I can still have my Wine, Thank you!, and can eat whatever I want, as long as it fits my prescribed amount of Macros. So I waited a few days and I got an email back from my coach and everything I needed to do just for 1 week. Which is where I feel if you break it up in 7 days, it is just that, 7 days. Let me tell you, that first week was tough, it was one of those where I could not eat enough to hit the numbers I needed. And still most days I have to come home and have a glass of wine to get close to my carb number. HAHA.

During the whole process of starting this new way of eating, my training was starting for the Chicago Marathon. Within the first week, I saw things improving greatly. I was running at paces I haven’t run in 2-3 years. I was eating better and I could tell that it was helping me out. Meanwhile I have spreadsheet that I contribute to that my coach can see and it has all my Macros on it along with what my workout was, hours of sleep, energy level and any feedback for my coach. I also send an email to her every week that has that week’s photo and any feedback from that week. What went well, what didn’t go well and such. She’ll then get back to me with what goals I should try for the new week and where to go from there. There have also been weeks where I’ve emailed her back and forth during the week about options and new ideas.

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Still a work in progress!

Since starting this process, I’ve lost just about 15lbs and a total of 15 inches. I definitely couldn’t do this on my own, I would have no where to begin and just like the many times I’ve started in the past about changing what’s going on, it would go away on the 3rd day and I would be back to my normal habits. Now, I’ve had a few cheat days where I went a little overboard and then paid for it the next day when I stepped on the scale. HAHA oops, time to start again and go from that point on. But, I don’t wallow like I use to and just keep going back down the rabbit hole like I once did.

I continue to work on me and be the best version I can be. I’ve still got some way to go since I let myself travel down this rabbit hole. Things will never be easy and most certainly they will be challenging. If it wasn’t a challenge then would you feel like you’ve accomplished it? Change isn’t always a bad thing but you have to want it enough to make it happen.

 

****All thoughts and opinions are my own and just wanted to share the awesome journey I’ve been on for the last few months. I was not compensated for this post.****

Can it really be near the end of April?!

I can’t believe that so far 2017 has been a blur. A blur of coaching swimming, working, not working out for the first 3 months of the year and struggles.

Back in March, yes a month ago, I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. I’ve run the marathon 2 times before and it’s a favorite for sure and will forever hold a special place in my heart. I was lucky enough to get in through the lottery. I had texted my friend M, who had wanted to run it as well and as you know, I’m always up for a challenge even it may be stupid on my part. More on that later. πŸ™‚ Well I’m happy to report that she got into the marathon too!!!! I’m super excited for her…words can’t express how much I’m excited for her, even if I kept saying this is how you’re going to feel. Yes, I was that friend.

I have definitely struggled finding my “love” for running again after my stress fracture in my foot and coaching swimming. I’m finally getting back into a rhythm and getting my act together. Now…I just need to get back in the pool. The pool use to be a sacred place for me. Even though there were days that I detested it when I was a competitive swimmer, it was always a safe place for me. I knew my place in the pool, I knew how to work my way through it and get business done. So I need to take another step and get myself BACK in the pool. My hope is that will happen sooner rather than later.

My focus for the remainder of 2017 is being healthy for sure, but also these 2 marathons that I’ve decided to run that just so happen to be 2 weeks apart. Now comes to the whole me being stupid part. I did this last year, yes. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and Athens Marathon 2 weeks apart. But…..I did that on a stress fracture. I know, I know, I should have pulled out of them, but I didn’t. So I want to remain healthy and not get hurt.

I’m starting my training slow. I mean, like 2 or 3 miles at the best. I even had a dream that my running buddy got mad at me for it being so low mileage. HAHA. But he’s a good person for running with me at my intervals and my pace even though he’s a lot faster than me. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do.

This year will be amazing and making it the best ever!

New Year…New Races…New Goals

New Year…New Races…New Goals must mean that it’s January!

I’ve been very lucky over the last few years to accomplish things I NEVER would have thought possible. It all started with 13.1 miles at Disney and a medal that looked like a crown. I never thought I’d make the friends I’ve made or been to the place that started it all in Greece. 2016 was an amazing year for me!

So what will 2017 bring? 2017 will bring the Chicago Marathon in October with several of my real friends that I’ve met through social media! Kristin will be running with me again in Chicago and Dani will be there too! Those are 2 that I’ve been lucky enough to meet in real life! There will also be many people who I know on social media but have yet to meet in real life and I can’t wait to meet them!

2017 will also bring another marathon yet to be announced. πŸ™‚ I promise it will be a good one!

2017 will bring many training runs with my friends here in Virginia. And man, I’ve missed that over these last 8 weeks that I’ve been “lazy” as my foot has been healing from a stress fracture.

2017 will bring a half marathon in Roanoke, Virginia in April. I can’t wait to travel for that one!

2017 will be a challenge. 2017 will bring new friends. 2017 will be amazing! And most importantly, 2017 will be an ADVENTURE!!!

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THE Authentic Athens Marathon

It was about 16 months ago that my Uncle said “Hey lets run the Athens Marathon!” I can remember this day vividly. We were up at my Grandmothers funeral and my sister, uncle and I went for a run. Fast forward 6 months, and we actually signed up for it after my Uncle did some research. Little did I know that 10 months later, I would be in Greece running THE Authentic Marathon…you know, the one we learn about in History or in my case Latin too. The one that started it all.

If you follow me on instagram, then you saw some photos from my adventures over there. We left on November 9th and traveled over to Greece. It was a L….O….N….G plane ride. It also happened to be my uncles birthday…the awesome 7…0. Yes, he turned 70 and ran a marathon a few days later. Who does that? Needless to say, my Uncle is pretty awesome.

The first day we were in Greece, we got to see the 1896 stadium, where the marathon finishes as well as the Acropolis, Mars Hill and had some awesome Greek food. It brought back lots of memories from my Latin classes and the Gods and Goddesses. And the history…things that I had forgotten but had been reminded about while we were there. It’s hard to put into words standing among buildings and things that have been around for so long. After we went to the marathon expo to get our packets and walk through. I have to say that they did a fantastic job at the expo. It was set up to funnel you through a certain path. It is definitely not like the expos here where you get your packet and then you walk willy nilly through the expo. The expo was in the Tae Kwan Do arena from the 2004 Olympics. That was really cool. To be in that building and the athletes that have walked through there. So cool!

Saturday was the second full day we were there and it was a more low key day since we were running on Sunday. We headed to the temple of Poseidon and it was interesting to know the history behind the temple as well as the “Graffiti” that was left on the Temple. I say “Graffiti” because it was not the graffiti we know, the spray paint (Although there was plenty of that in Athens). This was people who had traveled to the Temple and carved their name or something else in the marble. But it was usually their name and the date. Who knew? After we went for lunch at a local restaurant and we were seaside, but the kitchen was across the road, so it was interesting to watch the wait staff cross the road with our food.

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The Temple of Poseidon

 

Sunday! The day of the MARATHON! We loaded onto buses and left for Marathon. It was a nice drive to the start line and we actually drove along some of the course. That was daunting, you actually got to see the hills that we would be running. Yikes! There had been some talk about “THE HILL” which started at mile 6 and ended somewhere around mile 20. Yes, you read that right, a 14ish mile hill. It was a near perfect day for a marathon. Low 50s to start and ended up in the high 60s when I finished. Much different than the Marine Corps Marathon that I ran 2 weeks earlier. The race committee did a fantastic job letting everyone know what was going on and where they were suppose to be. We took in the sights and my Uncle, Sister and I all headed to our starting areas. Before long we had all started the race.

It was surreal starting the race, I had decided to run 5 minutes and walk 2 minutes. I was feeling good and so I kept chugging along. My music was going, and I would stop and take pictures along the way. Around mile 3, we hit the memorial hill and made a big circle around it. It is where the Athenian soldiers that survived buried the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice against the Parisians. Needless to say, quite the sight to see in your first 3 miles. The first hour went by no problem, but I did start to struggle so I scaled back my run/walk to 1 min run and 1 min walk. That worked for the second hour. I was still doing great and was working my way towards Athens.

Then the trouble hit. I started to feel sick. So I walked. I knew I could get myself under control but I had to make sure that I was on track for my personal time that I wanted to do. So it was fast walking. I was ok with that, mind you, we had that continuous hill to conquer. I have to say that the water stations were awesome. They were giving out BOTTLES of water, full bottles. I was able to stop and grab bottles of water and I did get into trouble a few times when I went by the water station and missed getting a bottle, But there was another station not far down the road. They had stops every 2.5ish kilometers. How awesome is that. For half of the race, I have to say that I had a bottle of water in one hand and a bottle of Powerade in the other with the occasional cup of coke. Yes, Coke. Coke was handed out on the course. I had gotten to the point that I would take a sip of water or Powerade and swish it around before spitting it out.

The towns along the course were amazing. They had come out to wish us luck and you would hear “Bravo” along the way. The kids from the towns had olive branches that they would want you to take and so you did, and ran with it for a bit before discarding it and picking up a new one. Everyone along the way was so incredibly nice.

Soon we were seeing signs for Athens and so I knew we were getting close, not to mention my Garmin telling me that I only had 6 or so miles left. I had been doing math along the way to keep my mind occupied and off how much more I actually had left. Even though I sometimes failed at how much we had actually done vs. how much we had left. OOPS.

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The Sign for Athens…Almost there!

I got to about 38km and knew that we were so close! I decided to start running again, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk and I was feeling good when running and terrible when walking. Which also lead to running when I needed to and walking when needed which I was ok with. I saw the glass runner that we saw when we stopped by the stadium a few days before so I was sooooooo close. So, I just kept running and walking. Before I knew it, I was at mile 40, 2 more Kilometers, 41, ok I got this. 42km! Could it be true….I had hit 42km. So what did I do, I took a selfie! HAHA yes, I was that runner that stopped to the a selfie with the 42km sign which was right outside the stadium. So into the stadium I ran and to the finish line. 42.219 km or 26.2 miles later, I finished in the iconic 1896 Stadium. The emotions were there for sure. The experience of running into the stadium was like no other. I made my way over to our group of runners and met my mom, sister, and uncle there. I had finished in just over 6 hours and 30 minutes. My goal was 7 hours. I DID IT! I was exhausted, but I did it. We did it, my uncle, sister and I finished the marathon.

We got back to the hotel and my sister, Mom and I headed to the Aegean Sea. My sister and I were going to get in the Aegean. It was cold, yes. But it felt soooo good! Not to mention we got some amazing pictures with the sunset we had. After, we had a banquet that the tour group I went with put on. We had Greek dancers and they wanted us to get up and dance with them. I don’t think they realized that most of us had run a marathon. We were blessed with olive wreath crowns and a hand made vase to remember this moment by. It was a good end to the epic marathon weekend.

Monday in Greece was spent at the Plaka. It is the oldest part of Athens and a lot of it is now shopping and closed off to cars. We were able to go into the stores and find items that we wanted or were looking for. My foot was not liking me so my mom and I sat at a local cafe people watching after we got done what we wanted. My uncle and sister walked off to the local Ouzo bar that she had been to before. I wish I could have gone, but my foot was angry enough as it was, so it was best to stay off it. It was hard to believe that we were leaving the following day to travel back to the states. It was a great trip for sure.

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Ouzo

We made it back and we were all exhausted. It’s still hard to believe that I ran the original course, the one that started it all. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and if you ever get a chance, don’t say no. The opportunity may only come once. The tour group we went with was amazing. They signed us up for the race, planned everything out and worked through every detail so all we had to do was show up. If you are planning on going and running the Authentic Marathon, look up Apostolos Tours or by clicking here. I’m so glad that I went to Greece and ran there. It will be a moment that I will never forget. It was a truly awesome life experience.

Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

Well it’s been almost a month since my first fall marathon! It’s hard to believe that it was that long ago. I have to say that this was one of the most awful experiences of my life but also one of the best.

Let me start off by saying that it was absolutely awesome FINALLY meeting @stlrunnergirl aka Kristin in person (you call follow her adventuresΒ hereΒ and here). We clicked right away and we set off to have a blast for the entire weekend. We were able to have lots of fun and enjoy getting ready for the race while she was here.

We both ended up taking over an Instagram account, Inspiring Women Runners, and we enjoyed every bit of showing our weekend for everyone to see. We got a lot of comments on our behind the scenes photo of our flat runners.

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Anyways, race morning was like perfect weather. mid 50s with a high that day being in the 80s, yuck! Kristin and I got to the start line no problem. We were waiting around with everyone else and all the anxiety. We both were injured during our training, so we knew that this marathon would be tough but we could trudge through.

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The race started and I was in charge of our run/walk intervals. We were set up to run 3 minutes and walk 2. We were feeling great and we made it through mile 4, the hill up Spout Run, ugh that hill. We continued on and Kristin was being a champ! I in the mean time, not so much. I started to cramp up in my legs and by this time in the day it started to get warm. We hit the blue mile which is always emotional. After that I was walking more than running. Luckily Kristin was there to help me and when we would try to run, my calves just weren’t having it. We were on the Mall by now, and every medical tent I saw, I wanted to stop and have them take me to the end. I was almost crying, and so ready to give up. Kristin was there and telling me that I couldn’t. But I so wanted to, every step was agony.

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At one point, I stopped by the medical tent and asked for salt. I ended up eating every bit of salt that was left in the bottom of a pretzel bag along with the pretzels. Kristin was being such a trooper with my negative Nelly attitude. We ended up walking the rest of the way and I have to say that she was right, the out and backs were insane. I was filling up my water bottle at most of the stops because I was going through water like crazy. We were literally counting down the miles and we made some new friends along the way.

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We finished the marathon, but it definitely wasn’t pretty! It was more like a survival. We both were like, never freaking again. I’m done with marathons and that’s it. But I still had one 2 weeks later. Are you kidding me….who’s bright idea was that?! We made it back to our hotel and I was texting with a few others that ran and found out that they came across the same difficulty. It was mind boggling that others had the same issues and hit the same troubles around mile 10. I was definitely glad to hear that I was not the only one.

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It wasn’t long after the race was over, that I started talking about a redemption race and having to run the Marine Corps Marathon again to redeem this last marathon I had with them. I could not let that marathon be the end all be all. True runner fashion!

So, what did I do, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon lottery. I told a friend of mine that I had signed for the lottery and he goes, “I thought you swore of the 26.2 mile distance.” Yeah well, never trust what a marathoner says after the most horrendous 26.2 miles. πŸ™‚

Saturday Morning Training Runs

I don’t know about you, but my sleep schedule has been messed up for the last week due to the Olympics. I absolutely love watching the Summer Olympics. I like Winter too, but being a former swimmer and now a runner and swim coach, there’s just something about the Summer ones that gets me every time. So as a result, my body is screaming at me for even attempting to get up at 5am to go workout.

But this past Friday night, I stayed up to watch the swimming events at night and with the heat that was taking place the next morning combined with the humidity, I just was NOT looking forward to a long run on Saturday Morning. It was the last thing I wanted to do. My running buddy on my Saturday mornings, texted and asked if we were running. Again I desperately wanted to so NO, I’m running inside. But I didn’t. I said sure and we set up a time to meet and get rolling.

Saturday morning came, and my alarm went off at 4:57am. I KNOW! It’s earlier than my weekday alarm, but I was up and ready to go in no time. I was excited to get out there with my new shoes and planned my outfit around the Olympics. I know what you’re thinking, who plans a training run outfit? Well this girl does, especially for long runs because why not?

Durning my Saturday run, my friend and I were talking about how easy it is for us to get up on a Saturday earlier than we should have to but have such a hard time during the week to get up. As we continued talking about it, we went on to say how we both enjoyed the early morning time to get our run in and to enjoy each other’s company all while talking about what happened during the week. It’s funny how the conversation goes from one topic to another and it lets the miles fly by. I’m so grateful for that.

And how perfect is this?!?! Another awesome friend of mine just texted this to me.IMG_2482

Marathon Training – Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

I’m the first to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I use to cry when I would have to run for swimming. It was the DEATH of me. Somewhere I started to hate running a little less and starting to find the beauty of it. I don’t know when that changed but it did.

3 Years ago when a coworker asked if I would consider signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon, I didn’t hesitate. I said “Yes” right away. It was only after that I signed up that I began to think “Oh biscuits, what did I get myself into?”. Β The reality set in that I was going to run a marathon. Who was I? Who was this person that hated running and yet she signed up for a marathon?

There were lots of trials that went with that training. The wrong shoes were a big part of it. I was dealing with a lot of knee pain and didn’t know if I wanted to go through with what I had said “YES” to. I can, still to this day, remember my longest training run of 2013. 20 miles. 6.9 miles more than I had ever gone in a race. I had diligently mapped out my route and knew where these 20 miles were going to take me. I had chosen to run alone in 2013 because I was “slow” and because who else wants to spend 4-5 hours running on a Saturday morning. I walked in from that 20 miles, and my poor mother got the brunt of my tears and frustration. I walked the last 8 miles home. I still got those 20 miles, but in the process got blisters on my feet. I was maybe 3 weeks away from my race and I didn’t know how I was going to conquer these 26.2 miles. Luckily, the people that came out to spectate and my coworker helped get me through the first 10 miles. The last 16 were on my own since I started walking more. I would cry every time I saw my Mom and Sister along the course. I ended up walking the last 6 miles and still finished. I got that coveted medal.

Fast forward 3 years to 2016 and yet again I find myself training for a marathon (or 2). I am now looking for people who will run with me to help keep me accountable. I have my mainstays and definitely look forward to running with them. I’m slower than I was before, but you know what I’m still running. I’ve been laid up this past week with a hurt foot but hope to get back out there soon. I have races to run. I have my moments where I’m ok with my runs and other times, I’m thinking to myself, why am I doing this yet again. 13.1 or less is just fine. HAHA. I got new shoes, so I’m hoping that that was the issue that caused my foot to hurt and cause me to not walk all of Saturday after I came home from my 8 miles. And yes, I did everything you hear not to do and run injured. I totally knew my foot was acting different and ran anyways. OOPS!

So I’m planning to get back on track this weekend after a few days off. I know I’ve been struggling with staying up late watching the Olympics and then shutting off my alarms to get up early to sleep a bit more. Anyone else having that issue? Once swimming is over, I’ll try to be better about going to bed around my normal time so I can get up to go run.

#streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS – June 2016

If you’ve never heard of PinkCupcakeGirl she is defiantly one cool lady! She’s always posting inspiring things on instagram. Definitely check her IG out when you get a chance. Well she’s hosted some of these challenges before and I ALWAYS wanted to complete one but NEVER did. I had so many excuses that would pop in my head. So I never finished one of these awesome streaking challenges before.

Well this time…I did finish it. I completed the streak and even better yet! I’ve kept my streak going. It’s funny how once you get through 30 days of “having” to do something it becomes automatic. It’s been a great way for me to get back into my training plan and running. Which brought me to a total of 58.93 miles for the month of June! YAY!

Not to mention all the cool new friends that I’ve now followed on their streaking journey. AND this awesome cool app that you can create calendar collages with. How cool is that?

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Marathon Training – Week 8

I can’t believe we are are already in week 8 of training. I know I picked a 30 week plan so I have 22 more weeks of running before my first marathon. You know, just saying that makes it seem like it’ll be here in no time.

My training has been spotty due to work and injuries. But that is no excuse, well maybe the injury part. Just a little bit….ok. Next week I plan to get my act back in gear with the help of Jen from PinkCupcakeGirl.

We’re going streaking!!!! During June, I’m planning on running at least 1 mile EVERY DAY! 1 mile! That’s it. You can walk it, jog it, run it, skip, hop or jump it. Just 1 mile. If you run more…great! But the key is to keep going from June 1 all the way to June 30. Think you can do it with me?

Make sure you follow myself (runnerchick29 on IG) and Jen (pinkcupcakegirl on IG) and anyone else that you want to follow during this challenge. We’ll encourage each other and make sure that we get this streak completed and rocked!

Who else is is going streaking?!