December Hydration Challenge Kick-Off

Today is day one of the 21 day hydration challenge, and we are all in on this one! I’m excited to commit to this goal and make it happen. I’m not the best at consistency or discipline so accountability is a good thing. I hope we can be that for you, too, if you join us for the challenge. It’s tough to stay healthy and fit as we struggle to meet commitments and are tempted by the rich foods and treats of the holidays, but this goal is maybe more easy to achieve for some of us (me) than sticking to a diet. In prep, I hopped on the internet and did a wee bit of research to find a few tips that might help us navigate this a bit more easily, and track how awesome we are as we slay this. I said SLAY.

Intake Tips

Measure Up! This one is a tad obvious, but make sure you’re using a bottle or jar with units of measure clearly marked on it somewhere, somehow. Most plastic bottles have this, but now is a good time to make sure yours haven’t worn off over time.

Set a timer It might help to set a timer to remind you to drink water. Especially at first until you establish a few days of consistency, and even more especially if you’re the type of person who keeps you moving all day. When time is flying by and you’re being pulled in every direction, it’s helpful to have a reminder to take a water break.

Form a Small Habit First Try drinking eight ounces before you eat meals or snacks. Or swap out one cup of coffee for hot water with lemon or green tea. Find an easy way to work hydrating into your schedule and life, one that you think you can stick with permanently.

Make Time for Bathroom Breaks Expect to spend more time in the restroom and that it might be annoying. I mean, what else can I say? Just remember that every time you’re in there, you’re getting rid of toxins. I plan on tapering my intake after 4 pm so I’m not up a lot in the night, and I plan to stock up on toilet paper. Good things to keep in mind!

Green Tea I’m addicted to Earl Grey tea like many people are addicted to coffee or soda. I’m still allowing myself to have it once a day, but when I can I’m going to swap it out for green teas and hot water with lemon. Green tea is a super food. If you find yourself needing a little flavor or variety, consider herbal and green teas. You won’t have to feel like you’ve cheated.

Alternate Beverages Alternating between water and your other drinks of choice is one way to up the hydration game. Try mixing it up by switching between water to whatever else you enjoy. If you’re me, that means one glass water, one glass chocolate milk, one glass water. If you find yourself struggling, this might be a good way to fight it.

Fruit and Veg Infused Water I’m excited to try this because fruit is one of my favorite things, and this should be a great way to add some flavor and variety. I like plain water just fine, but something tells me it will get old quickly. The great thing is that there are so many flavor combinations out there, Pinterest is full of recipes. I’m dying to try this Raspberry Rose Vanilla water!

Tracking Methods I plan to track my daily intake as well as how I’m feeling so I can get a better idea of my progress as time passes. For me, being able to see on paper how the challenge has changed my health will motivate me to continue good habits. While I plan on using my bullet journal, there are lots of ways you can track your water intake.

Fitbit or other device I have a Fitbit, but I’m guessing most fancy fitness trackers have some way to record your daily water intake. There are also a multitude of apps out there for this purpose. The Fitbit makes it easy to not only track, but set intake goals. I’ve used it in the past and liked it.

Journal If you have any kind of journal or paper planner, you can track your hydration there. If you’re into bullet journaling like me, make a graph layout and be sure to include your goal in your daily tracker, too. Set reminders and intentions for intake each morning, and ground yourself in your goal before you tackle your day.

Calendar This is probably the most simple way to record of your intake for each day. Whether electronic or paper, all that matters is that final daily total.

 

Finally, be sure to choose methods for intake and tracking that work for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you’ve tried this in the past and weren’t successful. It helps to be honest with yourself about your habits and personality, and reflect on what you need to succeed. We’re all here to support each other, and together, we can do it!

 

Next week, we’ll have giveaway news to share. Until then, remember these tips as you set out on your first weekend drinking crisp cool water and taking many trips to the bathroom. And please share your comments or struggles with us below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

December Hydration Challenge

If you need a bit of help maintaining healthy habits this holiday season, join our Hydration Challenge! I’m kicking it off on Friday with a goal of drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. Check back Friday for the kick-off and giveaway news, as well as some tips on how to track your intake and be successful.  Maybe we can’t stay off sugar this time of year, but at least we can make sure we stay hydrated (because champagne)!

How to Trail Run

Trail running is something I’ve been wanting to take up and do more of. For the last several years, I’ve lived a thirty to forty-five minute drive to the good trails in my nook of Colorado. It was a lot of effort that took way too much time; get up super early, dress, eat, drive forever, get at least an hour run in, drive home. That’s half the morning gone! I should have tried harder.

But now that I’m moving to a rural area of the mountains and will be doing all my training runs in my new neighborhood of hilly (understatement) dirt roads and U.S. Forest Service trails, I knew I needed to learn how run safely in the high country. It just so happened that my favorite local running store/brew pub (yes, you read that right), Shoes & Brews, was hosting a trail running clinic with Salomon Running. PERFECT. It was providence for sure!

My new neighbor, Mt. Meeker the Fourteener!

I’m so glad I went. It was helpful and informative, and it took some of the fear out of trail running for me. Here are some of the things I learned. Thanks, Salomon!

  1. Stay Upright Leaning forward constricts your airflow, so keep your torso upright and your head up despite the urge to lean into the hill.
  2. Stay on Your Toes Forget the heel strike. Staying on your toes makes you more agile through the rocks and other trail obstacles.
  3. Run on the Rocks If the trail is dry, go for solid surfaces over loose gravel when possible
  4. Run In The Water Don’t be afraid to run in the rivulets because there’s more loose sediment in wet conditions for your shoes to grip. In wet conditions, rocks can be slippery.
  5. Look Ahead Look 2-4 steps ahead of you to see where to step safely. Your brain can remember up to about 4 steps so stay safe by staying focused of your footfalls.
  6. Hip to Nip Move your arms like you normally would making sure they arc from your hip to your nip.
  7. Power Hike I didn’t know what this was until the clinic. It’s hard to explain, so go check out this great explanation from The Long Run
  8. Flail Like a Fool Flailing arms downhill is totally acceptable. No one will judge you for keeping your balance and not falling!
  9. Slow it Down Walking during trail running is a-okay! Even the pro who was with us, Courtney Dauwalter (who just broke a record for running 155 miles on a track in 24 hours) said so! It’s okay, really!
  10. What Goes Up On the downhill, lean forward a little to let gravity help you, but no so much you fall forward easily.
  11. Baby Steps Take smaller steps if you feel like you’re going too fast

Here’s Ester from Salomon with more tips

 

The trail we did was not for beginners, but it was a fun time and I met another Skirt Sports Ambassador, Becky! Making new friends is always fun, too.

Skirt Sisters!

The group at the top

It’s safe to say that I’m hooked. I’ve been posting gorgeous shots of my recent trail escapades on our Instagram all week. I cannot wait to get out there again this weekend and run where I play!

 

Do you run trails? Where do you run? What’s your biggest piece of advice for beginners? Share it all with me, I’m in desperate need of wisdom!

Race Recap: Denver Broncos Back to Football 7K

Something weird happened over the last few years. I started wearing more orange. I began paying attention when my husband was watching our local NFL team games. I found myself yelling at the refs for making shit calls against our guys, and screaming for joy when they won. Somehow, I became a football fan. You may have heard of my team, they won the Superbowl last year.

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My new Broncos hat. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear!

My family is just as mystified as I am at this development. It’s something I can’t explain or  make sense of myself. But, it’s happened, and so when I found out that the Broncos host a 7k (all hail John Elway) AND that the medal is pretty sweet, I invited a bunch of friends to join my team, the Happy Hoofers!

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We’ve got our bibs!

Waiting in our corral with a ton of other fans in the shadow of the storied Mile High Stadium was definitely a unique experience. We were #UnitedinOrange! It took a while for our corral to go as they were releasing waves every five minutes. We waited over an hour to start and were already pretty hot and thirsty by the time we got going at 9:30-ish. Still, we were excited to be part of the energy.start Collage

When we got the the first water station at mile 1, we were so happy! Until we were so sad. They had run out of cups, and we didn’t have bottles with us. We’d have to wait until mile 3.something for the next aid station. We really hoped they had cups! The course took us through the old Victorian neighborhood that surrounds Sports Authority Field (us natives will always and forever call it Mile High Stadium). I was too thirsty to get pictures. :-p Then we did a half circle along Sloans Lake before turning back toward the stadium to run onto the field!

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Running into the stadium through the Bronco head and being on the jumbotron was awesome but I wish they’d let us snap a few photos before they pushed us through. How often do I get to be on the 50 yard line of my teams home field. NEVER. That’s how often.

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Me and my sister on the JumboTron!

 

My goal with this race was to get some folks who might not ever consider “running” a race to try it out. I think for those who have never been to any kind of running race have preconceived notions about what level of fitness you need to participate, and how far a 5k (or 7k) really is. My friends where surprised that it wasn’t quite what they expected and they had more fun than they thought they would. Once folks realize they can do it at a pace they are comfortable with, they enjoy it. Not everyone has to be fast!

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They’re real!

I’m not sure I’ll do this one again. As much as I love my team, I felt the race organization could be better. The race didn’t start until 8:30 so it was pretty warm and it took quite a while for us to start. Not to mention, the water station ran out of cups before all the runners had left their corrals, and I saw far too many people cutting the course and cheating. It’s 4.3 miles for Pete’s sake, does one really need to cheat???  I call shenanigans!

It was a success, though, because my group tried something out of their comfort zone and they had fun! They are all so proud of their medals and of themselves! My sister-in-law had such a good time, she’s already signed up for a Christmas 5k, and I hope this is the start of a new hobby for her. I couldn’t be more proud of her! Kudos, Toni!! <3

All photos courtesy of my wonderful husband. Thanks, Honey!

 

What Fall races do you have planned? Who’s your team? I want to know below!

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I’m That Girl You Love to Hate

I want you all to know that this post is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to write. Trust me, that’s saying a lot. As an aspiring fiction writer, I’ve written some things that are definitely NSFW or children. Stuff that makes seasoned writers squirm uncomfortably in their desk chairs. I want you to know that this post was way, way harder than any horror scene I’ve ever written.

Today, I’m writing about skinny shaming, and about the fact that skinny shaming is real,  and it’s hurtful. I first wanted to write about skinny shaming when I joined Scoot a Doot in November of 2014. I wussed out, and wrote “The Lies They Tell Us” instead.  Then I went to FitBloggin 2015 in June, and they had a discussion titled Finding the Medium Between XS & XL, Exploring the Controversy Between Fat & Skinny Shaming. In a room filled with people who had struggled with varying degrees of obesity, I stood up and said something that was received with mixed reactions. I asked them to please stop shaming the skinny people for being skinny. There was one other woman there that could identify with what I was saying, and after the lecture, several people came up to me to thank me for sharing because they hadn’t seen the body shaming issue from the other point of view. That fanned my courage to write this post, and I hope it helps folks understand what skinny shaming means and how hurtful it can be.

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As a “skinny” girl, you may feel as though I’m speaking from a place of privilege. I understand how it might be perceived that way. All this time I’ve been writing for Scoot, I’ve tried to play down my body image struggles because honestly, I don’t have any. I feel like a jerk for putting that out into the universe because I don’t want it to seem like I’m lording it over anyone, or worse, complaining about the genes I’m fortunate to have. But here is the thing that sucks; I’m that girl everyone one loves to hate.  I’m guilty of a cardinal genetic sin; I’m naturally thin, and it’s taboo for me to talk about it.

You might be thinking “rub it in our face, Jenn, thanks a lot.” I get that. I really, really do. Hence why I generally follow the taboo and try not to talk about my body on the blog. I try to be sensitive to the feelings and situations of folks who have the opposite experience that I do. My best friend of twenty years has struggled with obesity her whole life and I’ve seen the other side of the coin through her eyes. The thing is though, it’s about genes. And we encourage a double standard when we talk about weight.

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A double standard, you say? I know it’s hard to believe or understand immediately. The reason us thin folk don’t talk about it is because we’re terrified that we’ll be perceived as complaining about being skinny, or speaking from that place of privilege, and will therefore be labeled as conceited and shallow. Complaining about being skinny would be incredibly insensitive. I want to be very clear, I’m not complaining about my body, only the double standard that accompanies it. Allow me to elaborate on what I mean by double standard.

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We all acknowledge and understand that it’s not cool to shame people for being overweight. Of course that is the absolutely right way to behave, I’m definitely not suggesting anything to the contrary. But, and this is a BIG but, we shame skinny people all the time without a thought. How is that possible? I’ve listed a few examples taken from my own experiences.

I would never say to someone “Do you really think you should eat that? You have a lot of weight to lose.” Yet, people think it’s okay to tell me: “Don’t you think you should eat more? You’re soooo thin.”

It is in no way acceptable to say to someone, “You’re so fat! Do you have a gland/genetic/health problem?” Yet people have commented to me “You’re so thin! Are you anorexic/bulimic?”

I would never say to a stranger, “Oh my gosh, you’re so fat. You must eat all the time!” Yet I can’t count how many times a complete stranger has told me, “Wow! You’re so tiny! You must never eat!”

The last time someone said that to me, I was so hurt and tired of the same old snarky commentary disguised as a backhanded compliment that I did something  I still feel a tiny bit bad about. I was at a greasy spoon truck stop and I ordered the chicken fried steak, eggs, hash browns, and pancakes. And I. ATE. IT. ALL. Right in front of her, the snarkey commentator. And I mmmm-mmm’ed and yummm-yummed all over that shiz. I didn’t feel one bit sorry as she watched me stuff my face with gravy covered goodness, proving that I can eat like a lumberjack when I want to.

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For many years, I’ve scratched my head, trying to figure out what the impetus is for these feelings and comments.  I can’t help the way I look any more than any of us can. Sure, we could all be firmer here and there, but we’re born with our body type. It may sound ridiculous, but I’m convinced my body type has kept me for forming friendships because I’m judged before I even open my mouth. I base this conclusion on comments from newly formed acquaintances that never evolved into anything more. Here’s a sampling:

“You are SO SKINNY. OMG I hate you.”

“You can fit in to that? I hate you.”

“You wear a bikini? I hate you.”

“You don’t wear Spanx?! I hate you.”

“Your wrists are SO TINY. I hate you. ”

“Your wedding gown is a size zero?! I hate you,” said the woman who altered my gown. She must have been in her sixties, and she still found room in her heart to be jealous of my then 26 year-old figure. Really.

And my favorite; “OMG, you’re so skinny. I have to hate you and we can’t be friends.” I wish I were kidding. I am not. A woman actually said that to me when we were introduced.

“I hate you” is always tacked on with a fake smile and self-depreciating hand gesture, but I know what’s really being said. In that moment, they really do hate me for my genetics; something I have NO control over, and trust me, it does color their perception of me. They prove it by ignoring me and choosing not to interact with me or talk to me. So if we can’t be friends because of something I can’t control, then does that mean I’m supposed to end my friendship with my BFF because she struggles with something she can’t control, being over weight?

Methinks not.

The “I hate you” comment is especially mean because it basically translates to “you disgust me”. You disgust me because you have something I don’t. You disgust me because you have something I want. You disgust me because I feel shitty about myself. You disgust me because being seen with you makes me feel shittier about myself.

Do you see the huge, glaring double standard here? And speaking of double standards, bear in mind that if you magically attain a perfect figure a la Sofia Vergara, it still won’t be good enough. When it comes to weight, you’re damned either way. Sorry to dash your hopes of body acceptance. There will always be someone who will say something to tear you down.

Make this your mantra during these encounters.

This is my mantra during these encounters.

Case in point, I have another friend who is gorgeous and in-shape and she hears it too. Other women telling her they hate her, telling her to eat more, or that she is “so perfect.” The problem is she has to work her ASS OFF to stay thin and fit. She can’t eat whatever she wants. She hasn’t always fit into a size 4. The most infuriating thing she hears is “why do you work out, you’re so thin!” It never seems to dawn on anyone that she’s thin because she works out. Not to mention, can’t she just work out to be healthyWhy does it always have to be about vanity?

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The “real women have curves”, “no one wants to cuddle with a stick”, and “I’d rather be curvy than look like a little boy” memes floating around out there aren’t doing anything for anyone’s self esteem.  It’s another example of bashing one side to make the other feel better.  I feel horrible for young girls and women who are struggling to accept themselves and their own bodies. What kind of mixed messages are we CONSTANTLY sending? Don’t be fat, but don’t be thin!  We all know the answer is to love yourself, for yourself. That’s the message we need to see more of, but try telling that to an eleven year old young lady and convincing her to truly believe it.

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In a perfect world, we would all accept ourselves first, others second, and then focus on building each other up instead of tearing each other down. Being that this is a fitness blog and you are here because you have an interest in being fit and healthy, I’m willing to bet the farm you’ve been on the receiving end of similar body shaming comments and prejudices from every sector of the spectrum. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear from you if you think what I’m saying is nonsense. Let’s have some dialogue to understand this behavior better. And then let’s be the change that’s needed!

 

Share your body shaming story with me in the comments. I really would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on all aspects of this issue!

Races are Coming, And We are Looking CUTE

Race season is upon us. Depending on where you live, it closer for some of us than for others. It’s snowing where I am in Boulder today, so race season is still a little ways away for me. Still, I’m betting many of us are launching into race training and nutrition, and maybe, just maybe planning our race outfits. Or costumes. We know how it is.

The next big race on my calendar is the Skirt Sports 13er on June 12th, and I’d really love some company. You should totally consider running this race with me. I promise, I’m super fun to run with; I dance, I don’t take it too seriously, and it’s really, really pretty here. Plus, there is amazingly yummy gluten free CAKE at the finish. CAKE, PEOPLE. Oooh, ooh, AND I have a discount code! SkirtBrand15 gets you 15% off race registration for the 13er or the 5k. So really, you have no excuses. Gorgeous course + me dancing + cake = best race ever! You can register here.

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I’m three weeks in to my training program and 2 weeks into a YogaTone challenge at my yoga studio. Oh, my goodness what a butt kicker THAT is.  Think airplane pose with weights. And warrior II, with weights. And crescent lunge with, wait for it… Weights! It hurts SO GOOD the next day. I even learned this fantastic hip strengthening move using a 5 pound weight.

I’ve also been testing out some new running gear. I wore Skirt Sports’ new mesh backed Take Five Tank to hot yoga and it outlasted me. I’d forgotten just how hot hot yoga is. I’m going to have to work up to that again. Maybe not sitting in the room for 15 minutes before class would help too. I wonder…

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I’m super in love with this skirt in limited edition “psyched” print. I’ve worn it on the treadmill a few times, and to yoga once. My favorite thing about Skirt Sports skirts are the built in shorties with pockets on each thigh. The pockets hold my car key, phone, inhaler, ID and a little cash. They’re pretty perfect.

This print will go with EVERYTHING.

This print will go with EVERYTHING.

I’m ridiculously excited about my next order, a skirt that has race magnets BUILT IN. I cannot even wait to try that out! I think I have officially converted to skirt! If you want to try out some SS gear, this code gets you 20% off, even on sale items (of which there are many on the website right now).

 

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Let me know if you give them a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, PLEASE COME RUN WITH ME. Running alone is not too fun. I like fun. And if you can’t run with me, then tell me what you are running and who you’ll be running with this spring. Let the races commence!

 

The Discount Fine Print

20% discount can be applied to sale items and non-skirt gear, such as Flipbelt and Zensah

15% Race Discount Code expires when registration closes, Discounts NOT valid on race day, Codes not valid on virtual events.

Blogaversary Giveaway – We’re 3!

We love this time of year because we get to celebrate when it all started. And by all, I mean the silliness and fun and food and all the running. It started with the ladies below: Mer, Vic, Brooke, Cam, Jess, and Bec.

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We’ve been here for three years now, and some things have changed. For instance, we’ve run a lot of races and earned a lot of medals.

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We ran a lot of those races in costume. We really, REALLY like costumes. We might need an intervention.

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Most importantly, we’ve made some amazing friends and have been lucky enough to be a part of the best community in the world, the running community. You inspire us in so many ways, every day. You set your goal, you get out there, and you get it done. You push htrough pain, obstacles, and downward spirals in motivation, and yet you achieve and succeed. We are so proud of you because you. Are. Epic. Thank you for sharing your journeys with us.

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Because you’re so awesome, you deserve a present! We’ve put together a special prize package this year, including a medal rack handmade by yours truly, and some other fabulous stuff from brands we love to support.

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This year’s giveaway includes a custom made medal rack with bib holder and chalkboard, a pair of size S/M PROCompression Socks, a KatieK Active headband and $25 gift certificate, a pair of YakTrax PRO size Medium, a SkirtSports Workout tank size large, a  collectible Disney Vinylmation Mickey Figurine, and a Blistex lip care pack.

To enter, click the Rafflecopter Link below. Good luck!!

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Click here to enter!

The giveaway runs from 2/29/16 – 3/7/16 and is open to United States residents who live in the contiguous 48 states only. Winner will be notified by email on 3/7/16 and has 24 hours to claim their prize. If not claimed in 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.