12 Days of Fitmas-Day 8: Do A Little Research

On the 8th Day of Fitmas…


I want to preface this post and really the 12 Days of Fitmas, by saying I am by no means a health/fitness professional. All of this is stuff I’ve learned and stuff that has worked or not worked for me.

That being said, when I became serious about running and getting fit, I did some research. A big misconception about running is that you just get up and go. But wait! There are few things I recommend you do a little research on before you get started:

  1. Get your feet looked at. I don’t mean by a doctor although you could do that too. I mean, head to your local running store and get fitted for the right type of shoe for your feet and running style. A lot of injuries stem from not wearing the right shoe and all of that can be prevented if you go and get the right ones. This is the first piece of advice I give to people who want to start running.
  2. As the weather gets cooler, research clothing appropriate for your area’s weather conditions. There’s a lot of gear involved in running that most people don’t realize lol!
  3. When looking for race to run, do a quick search for coupons and/or deals. A lot of times you get a percentage off and race prices can go up after certain deadlines.
  4. Before your race, familiarize yourself with the course, where water/food stations are located, the weather conditions for the day, and where your loved ones can meet you at the finish line.
  5. When you think you have an injury, limit your google researching. Dr. Google can give you a direction of what it might be, but it won’t officially diagnose you.
  6. Look up websites where you can map out your runs before you head out. I like mapmyrun.com but there are others. I personally like having a route before I head out.
  7. Before you invest in a GPS watch, do some research of different ones to make sure you get one that does what you want. I wanted something basic so anything that told me my heart rate I eliminated from my search.
  8. When trying food to eat while you run, make sure you try out different kinds before you commit to one for a race. Do a little research on the kinds of refueling you want.

    There’s quite a few things that could be added to the list, but I want to know from you:

What are some things you did research on before you made a purchase?

What are other things you’d recommend a new runner research?

Helly and Salt Are Still Streaking and 12 Days of Fitmas-Day 7


Still streaking and still smiling!

It’s crazy that there’s only 13 days left of this!

Here’s what the last week looked like:

December 12: This was a treadmill tempo run and 6 pretty decent miles were produced. (I have another secret goal that involves a secret pace—more on this later)

December 13: I left this at a chill streak mile at my secret pace.

December 14: Day before my last race of the year. I typically do a long run on Saturdays but I left it to my husband, who ran 8 miles, and ran a streak mile.

December 15: RACE DAY! Hopefully, you read my re-cap because I was ecstatic with the way I ended my short racing year. 5K PR=WIN!!

December 16: It was this girl’s birthday so I treated myself to a streak mile in my new jogging stroller!

December 17: Hill day! I do my hill intervals on the treadmill and pulled out 4 miles. I noticed that hilly miles tend to go faster than regular treadmill miles lol!

December 18: Christmas at the track! 3 miles of speed work J

December 19: I have 6 treadmill miles on my schedule for tonight…

Total mileage—24 miles


12 Days of Fitmas-Day 7

On the 7 th day of Fitmas….


I’ve mentioned before that one of the best decisions I’ve ever made was joining my gym’s run club. I’ve met so many awesome people and feel like I’m a part of something really amazing. It took me a long time to get the courage to do it, but I’m so glad I did. Sometimes I think of how my training would be different had I not made that decision. I’m not sure if I’d be as successful as I have been. That’s the truth.

I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone quite a bit these past few months. First, I started a blog. I was definitely a little apprehensive about it in the beginning but I knew I wanted an outlet for my training and the teacher in me wanted to help inspire others. So far, I have zero regrets.

If you look to the right, there’s quite a few things there. I started an Instagram and Facebook page for my blog. You bet I was nervous about that. Becoming so public with my life was not something I thought I’d ever do but, again, I want to share my journey and I’m becoming okay with it being to a bigger audience.

A funny way I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone is that during my two-week hiatus to rest my shins, I tried the stairclimber. I had absolutely no idea how that machine worked and it was exactly how I imagined my first time attempting it would be. Yep, that thing started going so fast I flew off of it. I flew off the machine!! Yes, people stared. Yes, people chuckled. But I got back on it and figured it out. For the longest time I had seen people use it and always wondered what it was like. Now, I think it’s an awesome, intense workout. I would’ve never known had I not at least given it a shot.

After my first pregnancy in 2012, I was looking to get back into shape and my friend invited me to hot yoga. I had never done hot yoga before and imagined a hot, smelly, stuffy room with sweaty people. I said yes and off I went. It was nothing like I thought. It was hot but it was not unbearable. It was most definitely not smelly. There were sweaty people but they looked awesome in the poses they were doing. I left that first session hooked. I felt so relaxed and like I had gotten more than just a workout. I had. I very highly recommend you try yoga if you haven’t.

It’s easy to stick with what’s comfortable. You’re used to doing things a certain way; you like routine. That’s okay, but, getting out of your comfort zone every once in a while let’s you have fun with your fitness. And if things do go awry, at least you have a funny story to share later on : )

Click here to link up with Helly & Salt!


Fiesta Bowl 5K Recap and 12 Days of Fitmas-Day 5

Wow. All I gotta say is wow.

These past 4 months that I’ve been running has just been amazing. I ran my last race of the year on Sunday and it. was. awesome.

When I previewed the course, I saw that it was a flat one in the city. Phoenix roads are structured like a grid so the roads are pretty much all straight. This course was basically a rectangle.

My previous 5K PR was 25:44 at my hometown’s Turkey Trot. I was hoping that maaaaybe I could set a new PR with the Fiesta Bowl seeing that it was relatively flat and I had a few more weeks of training under my belt.


My goal of course was to PR, but I had a secret sub 25 goal way back in my head (Do you ever do that? Have goal you don’t tell anyone because it might be slightly unrealistic and you don’t want anyone to laugh at you?) Anyway, you better believe I was still thrilled with my time (and my splits!!)

Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 7:59
Mile 3: 8:06
Mile 4: 0:57

The morning was cold (again, Arizona cold) and I was decked out and covered head to toe. About 20 minutes before the race, I ditched the gloves and jacket.

The race was a 5K and ½ marathon and had two different start lines for each with only 5 minutes separating the gun. There were quite a few people confused and standing at the 5K line when they should have been at the ½. I let people I saw in the wrong place know they better get a move on to their correct spot.

The Fiesta Bowl race coordinators had partnered with Girls On The Run because their race had been flooded the month before; this made the start line particularly crowded and there were no corrals. I tried to shimmy my way close to the front as best I could but I still had to dodge around some people at the beginning. It worried me because there were a lot of children in the race and I could see people brushing them as they ran past.

Once I was able to navigate the crowd, I was on it. I looked at my watch to check out my pace and made sure to stay at 8:15 and under. At the time, I couldn’t believe that I was even saying that to myself!! “Helly, stay at an 8:15 pace.” Seriously, I never thought that would be possible for me!

After the first mile, I felt warmed up and told myself to push a little harder. I had that lofty goal of sub 25 in my head. 7:59. Yes!!

Mile 3. Okay, I was starting to get a little winded. Considering I had never ran this fast in my life, I was hanging in there but I really really wanted to finish strong. It became a mental challenge for sure to keep pace and I managed at 8:06 but I knew that my under 25 goal was likely not going to happen at that point. I ran towards the finish line like a madwoman. It took me a second to pause my Garmin (literally, my official time was 25:05) and I walked towards my run club’s tent wanting to collapse.

I looked down at my watch and saw 25:06—soooo close!!! I had to really talk to myself about not getting down on not reaching my secret goal. I was disappointed I was so close and hadn’t reached but I kept telling myself, “Helly, you freaking PR’d!!!”

Right in front of my run club’s tent were screens with the finisher’s times (I think this is pretty cool race feature btw). I kept a close eye to find my name and there I was—48/331, 10th woman overall, and 2nd place in my age group!! That news definitely helped alleviate any sadness I had over not finishing under 25.

It was the perfect ending to the year and leaves me with so much motivation for 2014. You bet I’ve got a 24 something 5K on my to-do list!! : )



The 12 Days of Fitmas

On the 5 th day of Fitmas…


One thing I keep hearing throughout my training is that if you wanted to improve as a runner, you gotta work on your core.

Confession: In my recaps to you, I haven’t been completely thorough.

I run and you know that because I write about it but I’ve also been doing ab videos at home. My buddy Salt, whom I’ve mentioned before and will again and again, referred me to Blogilates on YouTube for good ab workouts. There is no way I can repay Salt for introducing me to this awesome person that we call Crazy Cassey. (She’s the one heading the videos.) They’re short, intense, awesome workouts. I’m obsessed. You heard me. I’m obsessed with working out my abs. (Who says that?!?) But seriously, these videos are actually fun, mainly because Crazy Cassey is hilariously entertaining. She has quite an abundance of ab workouts but she also has videos targeting all areas. Do a quick search of Blogilates legs and you’ll find a number of options. Same thing for arms.

I’m not too familiar with YouTube and what it has to offer as far as workout videos are concerned, but I do know that these are working for me. I’ve seen a significant improvement in my running since I’ve made my core a priority. I know that by continuing to include core work, along with diet and consistency in my training, I’ll continue to improve. It’s worked for Salt too—check out her abs!!