Fuel Belt Reviews

March 31, 2014

I have two fuel belts that I have used for my long runs. One is better for training and one is better for racing. My sister bought me the FuelBelt for my birthday last year and I bought the Spibelt at the marathon expo last October. I haven't used either in awhile because I haven't gotten up to high double digit runs. 

The FuelBelt has two 10oz bottles for liquids and a small pouch. When I first began running with it I was annoyed with how much it bounced. It took me a little while to figure out how to best wear it. I have a small waist so I had to strap it tight and push it down way low on my hips to get it to not bounce. I usually fill one bottle up with water and the other with gatorade. The pouch fits my house key, cell phone, and Gu chomps.

I like this belt for training more than for races because of how big it is compared to the Spibelt. I usually take the FuelBelt with me on 14 and over mile training runs. When I run shorter (13 and below) I only take Gu chomps with me. I did use this one for the 20 mile race I did last October and it worked great. I chose to use it to race only because it was along a trail and had few fuel stations.

The Spibelt is one small pouch that stretches out to fit a couple of Gu chomps or other fueling chomps.

I like this for races, such as the marathon, because it is much smaller. I don't take a lot with me on race day since the courses have fuel stations in which all I need is Gu.

Occasionally I have a race where they either don't have fuel stations or don't have a lot of fueling so depending on that I figure out which one will be best. For half marathons and shorter race distances I don't wear either.

Week Recap: March 23rd - March 29th

March 29, 2014

This week was a recovery week. I definitely needed the easier workouts since it took my legs a little while to recover. I blame it on the hills.

Sunday: Race day 

13.1! You can read the recap --> here

Monday: Rest day

I decided to treat myself to my first deep tissue massage after class. It made me feel a lot better.
Also, my sister sent me a pair of earrings and I can't wait to wear them!

Tuesday: Cross training

30 minutes of cycling on my trainer. 

Wednesday: Cross training

30 minutes of swimming. 1000m kept easy. 

Thursday: Easy run

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Brick workout 

Bike + run done!

This week was:
3.56 hours of training
20.52 miles of running

Follow Your Dreams

March 28, 2014

In high school I had a poster of a Disney star and the quote read something along the lines of, "Follow your dreams. I followed mine." Ever since I read that quote it always stuck in my head- follow your dreams. What were my dreams? I didn't know. After high school it took me a few years to find "myself" and what my dreams were. After some time I started running and signing up for races around my area. That was when I realized that my dreams include having bruised toenails that take four months to heal. But not just that, running is my "me time" and when I have the most fun.

When I first began running it was for fun. I occasionally ran on my own before I joined the track and cross country teams. During my freshman year of high school I ran my first half marathon with my dad with a time of 1:55. I was so happy with that time since it was below two hours. Our high school cross country team would end the season in October and then run the November half marathon for fun. The boys on the teams all ran 1:30 something half marathons and I always thought that was so cool and so fast.

first half marathon with my dad

During my sophomore year of high school my dad and I planned on running the marathon together. That was the year I stopped training and decided to stick with the half marathon. My sisters decided they would all run the half too while my dad ran the marathon. I ran a time of 1:52 and my younger sister ran a time of 1:45. Ever since then my competitive side came out and I was always wanting to be her time of 1:45.

I didn't run another half marathon for three more years until last year at the Alamo 13.1 with a time of 1:45. I did it! I finally got my sister's time. Of course, with running, I can never settle for any time. I have to keep trying to beat my previous record. I ended up running a few more half marathons last year and got down to a 1:42 half.

In January when I ran the Cocoa Women's Half I wasn't sure how the race would go. I had lost motivation in the middle of training and I wanted to do well but didn't expect anything great. My goal was a 1:41 where I would at least beat my previous PR of a 1:42. I ended up running way faster than I thought I was capable of, a time of 1:38.

I ran another half marathon this past weekend with a time of 1:36. I am running times that the boys ran in high school. If you told me then that in 5 or 6 years I would be running these paces I would call you crazy. I would have said something along the lines of, "There is no way I can run that fast. 1:50 is what I can do." My first half marathon was a 1:55 and now my record is 1:36. I never would have thought I would be in the "thirties" time wise but I am so excited to see how much my training and hard work is paying off and I can't wait to keep pushing myself to be faster.

My goal is to run a 1:30 half marathon. That is running between a 6:50 and 7:00 pace for 13.1 miles. 

I never look at what is possible. If I did, I would end up doubting myself. I don't care if it is or isn't possible for me to run a 1:30 half. I am focusing on how I am going to get there by pushing myself to be faster and working harder.

I should probably focus more during races too...

"If your dreams don't scare you they are not big enough."

Race Day Essentials

March 26, 2014

Normally for race day I pack a bag with items that I may need post race. I pack it the night before and have everything laid out since race mornings I am too nervous to do anything but focus on the race. Sometimes I have a small race where they don't have anything after the race in which I need to bring food and drinks for the drive home but sometimes I have a larger race where I may not need anything but I like to have extra items just in case. These are my race day essentials..

1. Lululemon yoga mat towel- I bring this to use as a seat cover. This avoids any stink either in my car or my dad's car. 

2. Jacket- I am normally cold after races so I also grab a jacket to throw in the bag. 

3. Shoes- I bring both my running shoes and a change of shoes for the car ride home. 

4. Deodorant and anti-chafe- enough said. 

5. Hair bands- I also pack my ring of hair ties because who knows when every single hair tie I bring will break. I bring Gu chomps and other fuel items. 

6. Race day outfit- my race day outfit is laid out the night before. 

7. Wallet- if my dad drives I don't really need my wallet but I pack it anyway. 

8. Ipod

9. Garmin

Race Recap: Alamo 13.1

March 24, 2014

Yesterday I ran the Alamo 13.1 race. While I finished with a brand new PR and an age group award, the race was anything but perfect... At my last half marathon in January I was feeling strong and kept thinking the whole race "when did running 13.1 miles become so easy??" Because that race felt easy! This race was completely the opposite.

Saturday night I put together my usual pre race outfit photo.

Lululemon Power Y Tank
Lululemon Speed Shorts
Mizuno Wave Rider 17s
Ipod, Clif shot blocks, Headband and Garmin

The race started at 7:45am so my parents and I got to the start at 7:15am. It was really windy and cold. I stretched for a few minutes but I was too nervous to do anything else. Prayer, national anthem, then it was go time. I started off a bit fast with all the race excitement but after a couple miles I settled into a good pace and remembered the strategy my coach sent me.

my favorite supporters (my parents) and I

It didn't end up raining which was great. 
However, it was SUPER windy along the course so my paces ended up all over the place. At mile three I realized I was starting out a bit too fast and needed to calm down. By mile 5 I was ready to quit. My legs felt heavy and my stomach hurt. I took fuel randomly throughout the race but I don't know the exact miles.

Mile 1: 7.15 pace

Mile 2: 7.36 pace

Mile 3: 6.56 pace - Oops, that was too fast.

Mile 4: 7.07 pace

Mile 5: 7.27 pace- I think I need to throw up. Yep, I definitely need to.

Mile 6: 7.46 pace- Well, this hurts.

Mile 7: 7.49 pace- Where is the end??

Mile 8: 7.31 pace
telling my parents "I don't feel so good"

Mile 9: 6.54 pace

Mile 10: 7.12 pace

Mile 11: 7.29 pace- Only two more miles? Okay I think I got this.

Mile 12 to finish: 7.43 pace- I AM DONE. OH HEY, THAT'S A PR TOO.

My paces were all over the place. I had some really strong miles (below 7 minute pace!!) and some tough miles that were inching towards an 8 minute mile. There will always be good races and bad races. This was my first "bad" race but I ended up doing better than any of my other races. I talked to my coach about the race and she said "imagine what would have happened if you had a "good" day."

Finish time: 1:36:48. 
Age group: 2nd place out of 46
Overall: 38th out of 1558

While it may not have been my best race, it was definitely a fun race with an awesome course and plenty of support along the way. I am SO excited about another PR and an age group award. Plus, I didn't get lost this time. 

Week Recap: March 16th - March 22nd

March 22, 2014

This week started off pretty crazy with three essays, one midterm, a speech and outline all due but it ended much better. It was an easy training week as I get ready for race day TOMORROW.

The pictures are: I was in Nordstrom and if you spent a certain amount of money you got a "free" gift of makeup so I made sure to spend the amount for the gift. Packet pick up items. Flowers I got ;). I have the best mom who picked up odwalla juice for me after I told her how good they are. And I saw that marathoner picture on Instagram and it is so true.

Sunday: Rest day

Monday: Easy run

Tuesday: Cross train (30 mins of cycling)

Wednesday: Easy run

Thursday: Cross train (1200m of swimming)

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Easy run

Sunday: RACE DAY - 13.1 

This week was:
2.25 hours of training
10 miles of running

Alamo 13.1 Expo + Race Strategy

March 21, 2014

Race day has come fast!
I went to pick up my race bib and I am all set to go for Sunday!

tote, race number, 13.1 sticker, t-shirt 

I went to the store where the "expo" was at and walked through to grab my race number and other items. It wasn't really an expo because it was inside a store and all you did was walk through to grab your items and leave but it was still fun to pick up my bag.

My coach sent me a new race day strategy to try. At first the stubborn runner in me said no, I just want to race but after talking with my dad and sister about it they both agreed that it will be good for me. I always have to remember that having PRs isn't the important thing this year. My goal race this year is the October marathon where I will try and qualify for Boston. Coach Jenny wants me to focus on pacing and effort rather than time. The strategy is to start slower and end faster. This will help see how much I have left in me at the end of a race and to see if I can learn running on effort.

It is supposed to be raining for race morning (I have never raced in the rain) but I have my race day outfit ready, my race number, and I am all set to race.

Wish me luck!

Guest Post: Meet Kathleen

March 20, 2014

I am excited to introduce you guys to my next sister! My oldest sister Anna has already guest posted so I think you all need to meet my next coolest sister, Kathleen. Kathleen is a freshman in college and runs for her college track and cross country teams. She is one speedy runner! She had her first collegiate meet this past weekend, which I was pretty bummed about missing. I asked her to write about her decision of running in college.

Hello Bloggers! For clarification, Sara didn't realize what she was saying when she introduced me. Clearly I am the coolest (Sorry Anna and Elizabeth).  I began running my freshman year of high school. I ran both track and cross country. In track I ran long distance- the 3200 and 1600 meter races. At first, I was only interested in running because my sisters were on the team but throughout the season I began to realize my passion for running and how much I enjoyed it.

My freshman year of high school I usually ran in the back of the pack, not knowing what I was capable of. One day I felt that I was not pushing myself hard enough and decided to work harder in practices and I began to win medals in my races. Once I realized that I could actually run faster than a 15 minute pace (well maybe not that slow) my training started to become important and I beat many personal goals.

Ever since freshmen year people would ask me, "Are you going to run in college?" I always said yes! During high school I went to state every year in both events. Running became my life and I didn't want it to end.

When my senior year was coming to an end, I never could make up my mind. I went back and forth on deciding if I was going to run because I knew the time and dedication that was going to need to be put in. I went to orientation at a school in town after deciding to not run in college and cried when I got home because I knew I made the wrong choice. Every night I thought about how lost I would be without training for races or running with a team. Luckily I was able to join last minute and decided to run in college a few weeks before the season started. I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have ever made! Although I just joined the team last fall, I absolutely love running in college. I run the 5k, 10k, 3k, and 1500 races. 

In my first outdoor meet last weekend, I competed in the 3k and 1500. It was great to be back on the track and competing. 

I am looking forward to my race this weekend and hope to continue to push myself in order to PR in my races! I hope to run 36 minutes (or below) in the 10k which is 6.2 miles. The training for running in college is long and tough but it is definitely worth it!

Top 8 Favorite Songs

March 19, 2014

It's race week! Which means I have been putting my playlist together for Sunday's 13.1!

Lately I haven't been taking my Ipod with me on my runs. I used to never be able to walk out the door without it. Now I occasionally take it with me when I want it for my Saturday long runs. There are a few songs that I have been listening to either on my long runs or when I am headed to the gym for my swim workouts.

These are just a few of my top picks for race day:

1. Applause (or Just Dance) by Lady Gaga

I know these are old songs but I don't think I will ever get tired of these two. I am either just dancing through my run or living for the applause.

2. Hey Brother by Avicii

This is a different one for me.. Normally I don't like the types of songs that go "here are some words and now for the crazy forty second instrumental section" but the beat of this is good. 

3. Glowing by Nikki Williams 

Another good upbeat song.

4. Pompeii by Bastille 

This is more of a warm up song since it is slower.

5. Neon Lights by Demi Lovato

I haven't listened to this one while on a run yet but the Itunes preview sounded good enough.

6. Love Me Again by John Newman


7. Golden by Parade of Lights

This another good upbeat song. Everything is golden. 

8. Can't Remember To Forget You by Shakira

I haven't listened to this one either. 

Basically the best cookies

March 18, 2014

A few days ago I saw a recipe post on Ashleigh's blog for winning chocolate chip cookies. First of all, Ashleigh always has the best recipes. I have already told her she needs her own cook book because everything she makes looks so good. Plus, the recipes I have tried out from her blog all turn out delicious. She made them for her running club and these cookies won. When I saw the cookie post I knew I had to make them. 

You can find the full recipe and baking directions from her blog at the link above. I followed the exact recipe but used only one bag of chocolate chips only because I started making them and didn't realize I only had one bag in the pantry. 


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 oz (2 bags) semisweet chocolate chips

These are some of the raving reviews: 

My dad said, "Great job, Sara! These are good."

Kathleen said, "THESE ARE SO GREAT"

Go make these right now because they are basically the best cookies. Ever. 

It's Official!

March 17, 2014

It is official. I (finally) registered for my FIRST TRIATHLON.

In six weeks I will be swim, bike, running to the finish line of my first "tri". I. can't. wait.

The race is super short. It is a 200 meter swim (8 laps down and back in a pool) + 10 mile bike + 2 mile run. Since running is my main focus I have only been swimming and biking for 30 minutes each week. I don't know how hard biking 10 miles is but I have run that distance and it is over quickly so I feel like it will go about the same.

I still don't know what my race day outfit is but I am registered and that is all that matters! I know my oldest sister, Anna, will have some tips for me so I will share those soon.

Week Recap: March 9th - March 15th

March 15, 2014

I'm baaaack!!

Unfortunately, my family and I weren't able to go visit my older sister for a few days like we planned so we stayed here for the week. It was a fun week but we miss Anna.

Sunday: Rest day

Relaxing for most of the day then Bible study in the evening!

Monday: Easy run

Tuesday: Brick workout + Strength training

Early morning wake up for a short bike + run session. I nannied for most of the day. When I got home I had a weight session to do then quickly got ready for dinner and ice cream with friends.

Megan, one of my friend's who went to dinner!

Wednesday: Tempo run

It was super windy which made it annoying to run in. I had four sets of 5 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. I kept around a 7:00 pace for the hard duration.

Afterwards my mom and I dropped my sister off at track practice and we headed to the mall for some shopping.

Thursday: Cross training + Strength training

For my swim workout I did 12 x 100 meter repeats then I headed home for strength training. I followed one of the routines my sister sent me.

My other job is dog walking:

Friday: Easy run

My mom makes the best breakfasts. Coffee, blueberry muffins, eggs and bacon, and a fruit plate.

I had a 30 minute easy run to do then the rest of the day was spent writing three essays, studying for tests, and finishing up a speech. My teachers are really great to us during spring break. Later I went to dinner with friends.

Saturday: Long run

Short and sweet- 7 miles. The rest of my weekend will be finishing up homework.

This week was:
5.10 hours of training
23.39 miles of running

It's Spring Break!

March 10, 2014

I am so excited for a break from classes this week! I am also taking a break from blogging for the week but I will see you back here next Monday. And don't worry, I will still be reading and commenting on all your blogs :)

Have a great week!

Week Recap: March 2nd- March 8th

March 8, 2014

Another training week done! I have two more weeks until my next half marathon and I am ready to go! I have my outfit picked out and everything. This week was pretty busy but it is now officially spring break! Let's get on with the recap:

Sunday: Rest day

Monday: Easy run

50 minutes at 8:44 pace before class. It was 28 degrees, 28 DEGREES, when I went running. I couldn't feel my legs. Or face. 

Tuesday: Cycle + Run + Strength training

You can read more about it -- here
30 minutes of cycling, 20 minutes of running, 20 minutes of weights

Wednesday: Tempo run

I went to class, had a smoothie pick me up after lunch, then did my run in the afternoon. I had a tempo run to do with 30 minutes in the middle of the workout to run at a hard pace. My average pace was 7:28. I had orchestra rehearsal later that evening. 

peanut butter, chocolate, and banana is the best.

Thursday: Cross train + Strength train

I went to the gym for a 30 minute swim.

200m warm up
6 sets of: 1x 50m, 1x 100m
200m cool down

When I got home I did my own strength training routine for 30 minutes. 
My mom bought me some cycling shorts! How she knew they would fit perfectly, I have no idea. But they are great and I can't wait for Tuesday's cycling.
Then later that evening I went to Bible study after work. 

Friday: Easy Run

I finished my run in the morning, went to class, then it was girls night! A few girls from Bible study went downtown for dinner to some food trucks. Oh and burgers and beignets are perfect fueling for long runs ;)

Saturday: Long run

10 miles this morning at 8.50 pace. Now it's taper time for my half marathon in two weeks! 

This week was:
5.53 hours of training
27.48 miles of running

Must Haves For Spring

March 7, 2014

It's almost spring time! While the weather in some areas may not be perfect spring weather, that doesn't mean you can't buy now to get ready for warmer weather. I have a few tops and bottoms that are on my list to buy for spring running:

My new favorite tank is the ebb to street tank. I got it in maroon (no longer available) a few months ago  and it is super comfortable both for running and for layering under my day to day clothes.

My first brick!

March 5, 2014

I had my first brick workout yesterday!

Brick is a term for combining two sports together (usually bike and run) to help adapt the muscles for triathlon day. I didn't know I would be doing brick workouts in my beginner triathlon training but I was so excited when I saw it written down. My brick was a 30 minute bike followed by a 20 minute run.  It was a short brick but I was able to feel out how it would be on race day going from biking straight to running.
oh hey, arm.

The 20 minute run was more like 13 minutes of running, 10 minutes of catching dogs, 7 minutes of running. In the middle of my run I saw these dogs running by and thought it was odd they were running where I was. Then I saw this little old lady yelling for the dogs. I asked her if she needed help when she told me "doing these things is hard for a 65 year old." And I noticed her bleeding hands. Poor thing! I paused my Garmin and helped her grab the dogs then continued on my way back home. 

I also had 20 minutes of strength training to do. When I finished the workout I also began to wonder about transitions and how I still don't have biking shorts yet (yes, it kinda hurts) and what am I going to wear for race day etc. I suppose I should keep taking it one day at a time. Yay brick number 1!

Garmin 620 Review

March 3, 2014

Ahh, my Garmin. I got my Garmin for Christmas along with the heart rate monitor. I had my previous Garmin for seven years and it was at the end of its little Garmin life. At first I thought running with the heart rate monitor (a little black strap that goes around my chest) would be annoying but now that I have run with it for a few months I am used to it. I have been running with the Garmin 620 for almost three months now and have some favorite parts to it.

The Race Predictor 

I have no idea what a VO2 max is but I know what mine is because Garmin tells me. One of my favorite parts is the Race Predictor from the Garmin knowing my VO2 max. Based on how I am running, it tells me what my predicted race times are for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon. I always try to prove my watch wrong. When I first got it and began training it said my race predictor time of a 1:39 half. My PR at the time was 1:42. I went into my first half marathon of the year wanting to prove it wrong that I could run faster than a 1:39 and I did! I love having that aspect of it.

The Virtual Medals

My second favorite part is the encouragement it sends after I run. When I first ran with it everything was an accomplishment. It shows a little medal on the screen with one of the phrases:

"Fastest mile"
"Fastest 5k" (or 10k, etc.)
"Longest run"

The Recovery Advice 

The watch has a recovery advisor based on how far, how hard, and how long I ran. Sometimes it tells me I have 23 hours until I can run a hard run again and sometimes it says I have 52 hours. I like having that to give me an idea of how easy or hard I should be running.

Those are just a few of the features and maybe I am a little biased because my previous Garmin didn't have any of those aspects, but I think it is the best watch! 

Week Recap: February 23rd - March 1st

March 1, 2014

This week was a good week both with training and with other things. First, all of my workouts just "clicked." You know those types of workouts where each one feels good, you feel strong, and you're always looking forward to the next one? I totally understand tempo workouts now! I will post about it next week but I figured out what it means to run by effort and not pace. 

Also, I have really exciting news. I was accepted to be a Fitfluential Ambassador! I sent in my application in the fall of last year and have been waiting so patiently to hear back. A lot of people apply and I was one of those accepted.
Sunday: Rest day

Sleeping in, hanging out with my family, making pizza, and Bible study.

Monday: Easy run

I did my run in the morning, had four classes, then hung out with a friend for the afternoon. 

Tuesday: Cross train + Strength train 

30 minutes on my bike trainer followed by strength training that my sister sent me.

Wednesday: Tempo run

It was cold and raining so I moved my run to the afternoon (even though it was still cold and raining) when I got out of classes at 3pm. 5 miles with a faster pace in the middle. 7:24 average pace for 3 of the miles. Orchestra had off for this week so I got to enjoy girls night with my mom and sister.

Thursday: Cross train + Strength train

I had the day off work and my sister's classes were cancelled. We were able to enjoy our morning making waffles and having coffee.

Then time for cross training. My sister went with me to swim laps. I did longer sets with less of a break in between to build endurance on my swimming. Usually I take about 30-45 second breaks but this time was 10-15 seconds in between. Oh and 8 weeks until my first triathlon!

1300m workout:
1 x 200m warm up
2 x 100m alternating one fast, one recovery
2 x 200m swim
2 x 100m alternating one fast, one recovery
1 x 200m swim
1 x 100m cool down

The gym also has really good food. My sister and I grabbed lunch there. I got chicken quesadillas with a tropical smoothie. And I did my own strength training workout later in the afternoon.

Friday: Easy run

Saturday: Long run

12 miles fit in bright and early this morning with my sister then I went to brunch with some girls from church. So much fun!

This week was:
6.07 hours of training
26.71 miles of running
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