Category Archives: IR4

**Race Entry Giveaway!!**CDM Mind & Body 5K Run/Walk & Wellness Expo

First off…let me tell you a little bit about CDM Mind & Body!

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CDM Mind & Body is a platform for all things health…and you all KNOW how much I love my health and fitness!  They are your resource for health tips, motivation, information, how-to and much more…and I’ll be honest…who DOESN’T need all that stuff in their life?!  That’s right…we all do!!

And we can all thank Cynthia Ringo for making this all happen!  This St. Louis based group was formed in 2010 by Cynthia and was sponsored by Christ Deliverance Ministry.  After becoming a full-time caregiver for her husband (who had suffered a stroke and then developed vascular dementia as a result of that stroke), maintaining a healthy lifestyle became SUPER important to her because she knew if she didn’t care for herself…she wouldn’t be able to care for him.  So…with about 15 other women from their church, she started her journey to become her healthiest while inspiring others.

Guess what happened!

That small group of women (age span from 21 to 65 including two breast cancer survivors) lost over 600 pounds collectively and counting….WOW!!!!!!!

Since then…the original group of women along with others in the community decided to take back their lives and have grown this idea into a day-long health and fitness event sponsored by CDM (Christ Deliverance Ministry – a faith-based, non-profit organization dedicated to serving the St. Louis community).

This year, on May 28th,  come and enjoy the day at with this inspirational group!  There will be something for everyone!  The event takes place at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School in Midtown St. Louis (701 North Spring Avenue, St. Louis, MO) and includes a 5K race (1st place can snag a $500 overall prize), a fitness challenge, a healthy living seminar and many lifestyle vendors.

This is going to be a day of fun that you DON’T want to miss!  Wanna find out more?  Go here and check out the answers to all those frequently asked questions.  Or better yet…just go sign up!  It’s only $35 for the 5K and the rest of the events that day are FREE!

Here is the best part!  CDM Mind & Body is wanting to offer one of you lucky readers and a guest of your choice a FREE entry for their 5K on May 28, 2016.  A winner will be picked by May 27th.  Enter below through Rafflecopter!

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Celebrating 5 Years for MO’Cowbell

If you know me at all…then you know that I have MO’Cowbell Fever!!!  And there is only one cure….

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I’m crazy about this race and I’m not afraid to say it!  In fact….I’m downright proud of it!!  I mean who wouldn’t be ecstatic about being an Ambassador again this year for a race that has a very Ab-tastic mascot!!

Hellooooooo Chuck!!

Chuck & I at the Ex'MO - 2014

Chuck & I at the Ex’MO – 2014

2015 is the year that YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!!

2015 is MO’Cowbell’s 5th Anniversary and I’m super pumped to be a part of it!

And you can be too!!  Once again, MO’Cowbell will be offering a race for all skill levels.  You can pick from Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay and 5K!

And if you want to walk and not run…well you go right on ahead and do just that!!  (They do ask that everyone maintain a 16-minute mile pace)

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This year the MO’ Cowbell race will take place on Sunday, October 4, 2015. You will start and finish in the gorgeous Frontier Park where you can enjoy Runner’s Village.  With your registration you will receive a long-sleeve tech-shirt, a race-themed cowbell, top-quality finisher’s medal, 26.2/13.1/Relay/5K cowbell car sticker, runner’s bag, a virtual goody bag, access to water stations, baggage check, course entertainment, post-race food & beverage, medical stations, massage therapy, and of course, cheering neighborhood crowds and volunteers clanging cowbells.

1529689_626311514083432_2138987065_o  I promise to you that you will get an amazing race experience as your run thru the streets of Historic St. Charles, past Herman’s Farm Orchard; where you will experience the ever-famous High-Five Zone, thru the very unique New Town, up the memorable hill on Little Hills Expressway and back down thru Historic St. Charles.  Plus, you will also get to be a part of the original flattest, fastest course in the St. Louis Region and as the final kicker…it’s a USATF Certified Course.

(For a complete turn-by-turn of each race, go here)

I would be crazy if I thought that everyone felt the same way about running as I do…It’s not everyone’s THANG!  But guess what…you can still get involved with MO’Cowbell!  You can volunteer…be a sponsor…or just be the coolest spectator around and clang your cowbell and cheer the runners on!  Trust me…we runners LOVE the spectators that yell and cheer us on!  And here is a little secret…WE LOVE THE SIGNS!!!!  Like these cuties that were found in New Town!

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 In addition to this kick-butt race…MO’Cowbell also hosts an incredible 2-day Fitness Ex’MO where you will pick up your race packets (packets can also be mailed for an extra fee).  The Ex’MO is also open to the public so anyone and everyone can come check out the exhibitors and vendor booths from various companies and organizations that promote fitness and healthy living.  Want to be one of those fancy vendors…well check out how right here!

So come on…come join me in what I think is the coolest race around!

You can register right here!!  But don’t delay…Prices go up on May 1st so sign up before then!!

Want to win a little something extra…well use my MO’Bassador code at registration for a chance to score some spectacular Official MO’Cowbell race swag!!

Code:  JENWCB16 (this is the new 2016 code)

Note:  Code can be used on all races:  Full Marathon, Half-marathon, Half Marathon Relay & 5K.

It’s getting MO’ Crazy up in here!

…and I mean way MO’ crazy than normal!!  I’m about to get SUPER busy promoting AND training for a race that is very near and dear to my heart!!  I love this race for many reason such as:

**It’s FLAT…or mostly flat…I mean..there is that ONE hill 🙂

(This is a USATF Certified Course and can be used as a qualifier for other races such as Boston, New York, etc.)

**It’s CLOSE…like roll out of bed at 7:00 for a 7:30 race start 🙂

**It’s got that home town race feel complete with scenery that is AMAZING!!!

**It is a race with a sense of humor 

(the idea for the name came from a SNL skit featuring Will Ferrell)

and the number 1 reason I love this race….

**It was where I participated in my FIRST ever half-marathon last year (2013)

Yes!!  I’m talking about the MO’Cowbell

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This year I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the illustrious ambassadors(my code to use at registration is JWMCB14) for the MO’Cowbell here in St. Charles, Missouri!  I am beyond proud and so ready to spread the word about this awesome race that no one in this world should miss out on.

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This year, the MO Cowbell will take place on Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at 7:30 a.m (5K begins at 8:00 a.m).  

Be there or be square!!  

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The best part about this race date is that we have a race for all skill levels:  Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay and 5K!  And of course, walkers are always welcome.  Another plus is that the start and finish will both be in Frontier Park in Historic St. Charles (here are some directions to get there).  This makes it easy for everyone to meet back up with their loved ones after the race to celebrate your accomplishments 🙂

 

After the race, you will get to go enjoy yourself at the Post-Race Party of refreshments including chocolate milk, bananas, chips, beer and more!  There will also be food trucks for spectators and live music by the Rough Ryders from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

In addition to the race, there will also be a Health and Fitness ExMO’ on Friday (10/3) and Saturday (10/4) where you can pick up your race packet (there is NO race day packet pickup) and also check out some awesome vendors! (Do you want to be a vendor?…go here)  You do not want to miss this!  There will be lots of merchandise to buy as well as lots of freebies and a wealth of information.  I bought a really cool “Suck It Up” BondiBand at last years ExMO’ for super cheap (see below in picture).  There are already a bunch of vendors signed up for this year…check it out here!

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So of my goodies from the 2013 MO’Cowbell – my 1st ever Half-marathon!

And my AMAZING race bling!!!

And my AMAZING race bling!!!

This race is seriously a hidden gem!  The price of the race is nothing compared to what you get back from the race!  However, prices do go up again on September 1st so make sure you get over there and sign up soon!!  When you register, don’t forget to use my special ambassador code for your chance to win your very own MO’Cowbell blanket!!!!  

My code is JWMCB14

Your registration includes:

  • Race bib with Chronotrack timing chip
  • Long-sleeve tech-shirt
  • Race-themed cowbell
  • Top quality finisher’s medal when crossing the finish line
  • Cowbell car sticker
  • Runner’s bag
  • Virtual goody bag
  • Baggage check
  • Course entertainment
  • Medical stations & massage therapy
  • Water, sports drink & gels along the course
  • Post-race food, beer & chocolate milk
  • Entertainment in Runners’ Village 
  • spirited neighborhood crowds and volunteers cheering with cowbells

Needless to say, I had the best time at this race and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!  Check out my finish line pics….right before and right after the finish line!!  

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So seriously…put on those shoes…go sign up & train and then come join me this year as I take on the Half-Marathon! My plan this year is to kick this race’s butt and scoop up a PR!

 I will be there running for Riley and Down Syndrome Awareness!!! #IR4

 

2 PR’s (Personal Records) in 2 Weeks!!

I started the month of March with two Half-marathons on the books…one week after another…for some, this may be no big feat but for me (a.k.a. the girl who hid inside from the cold nasty Missouri weather all winter but also refused to run on the treadmill) this  was HUGE!!  Up until the beginning of March, I had only ran a handful of 5K’s on the old dreadmill in the basement.  All that training I had planned for my two March races went to the wayside.  I stressed about it for a bit (okay…a few weeks but that’s normal for me) and then finally decided to just take it as it came.  I decided that I had no goal in mind for either race except to just finish.  I have only ran one other Half-marathon (you can read about it here and here) and I got hurt so I wasn’t looking to push myself too much.  I really did not want to injure myself right before all the great weather arrives.

I ran my second ever Half-Marathon on March 15th and I rocked it!  I ran in the Irish Upon a Star Virtual Half-Marathon hosted by the IR4 community.  They are an amazing group by the way!  If you want to learn more about our great little family, check out this post about my IR4 buddy Riley!  She is an amazing little sweetheart!  See for yourself 🙂

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For this run, I decided to join my running pal Stephanie for part of her scheduled 18-miler that she was running that same day.  Win-Win for both of us!! It was nice to have someone to keep each other company…although we both had to finish our runs separately since I wasn’t going as far.  It was a great route that was mostly flat.  Our run went pretty easy and before I knew it, I was setting a PR! I smashed this run with a 2:32:01 and I was ecstatic!!!!  Check out Riley & I’s medals!!

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I also happened upon ONE of the 250 cakes that are part of the STL250 celebration!  If you aren’t sure what that is exactly….?  Well here is the dirt on it!  2014 is a big year for St. Louis!  It’s the 250th birthday!!  Read about these amazing birthday cakes here!

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Fast forward another week and I found myself getting ready for my long-awaited and much-anticipated Relay & Run for 21 Half-marathon!  I have been looking forward to this race since I signed up!   I could not wait to run in honor of my IR4 buddy Riley!  My only goal on this race was to make her proud 🙂

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This race was a little different from any that I’ve run because it as a point to point race that took us from Downtown Clayton to Westport Plaza!  Wanna see what that actually looks like on a map?!  It looks like a huge distance to go…LOL.

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It took us through some amazing neighborhoods and we able to enjoy the views and scenery as well as the rolling hills which we loved to hate 🙂  Although we have had a few nice days here and there lately, the day of the race was windy and cold to say the least.  Thankfully, we were able to hang out in a little coffee shop at the starting line to keep warm.  We were also able to snap this “before” picture of us getting ready to rock this race.

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I ran the Relay & Run for 21 with two amazing women (both named Stephanie…plus read one Stephanie’s account of our race on her blog here) who told me before we left for the race that this day was all about me getting a PR.  I knew that the course was hilly…very hilly!!  I was not thinking that a PR was anywhere in my future that day!  However, they pushed me to the very end and I thank them tremendously because….I crushed that race with a 2:25:24 (elapsed time).  I can tell you how that felt…I truly felt at times that I wanted to give up…that I couldn’t do it…the hills were killer…I thought of Riley many times during this challenging race and I know that her bright smile got me up many of those hills that I encountered.

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After running these last two races (#2 & #3 Half-Marathon), I’ve come to the conclusion that, like most, I’m addicted to the Half-Marathon!!  I can’t wait for the next one which will hopefully be during my birthday weekend!!!!  Of course, that means I need to start training for that….NOW!!!  Yikes!  It will be here before ya know it!

Half Training and I Run 4 Riley (IR4)

I’ve been slowly getting back to running after the holidays…and the wicked “sickness” that I caught from my kiddos or hubby or some giving person.  All I know is that it knocked me down for 4 days and it’s taken me at least two weeks to completely feel like myself.  I spent ALOT of time sleeping and laying in bed…I didn’t get to run…but I did crochet the heck out of some stuff.  Finished like three projects…including an awesome bag that I will probably keep for myself 😉

In regards to running, I have all kinds of fun stuff to tell you…let’s start off with my nifty new watch for the nerd inside me.  I got the newest Nike+ Sportwatch in this awesome neon yellow color! I LOVE it!!!!!  Check it out!

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I love all the extra options that my old watch didn’t have such as GPS (powered by TomTom) and also the fact that it shows way more stats which is great!

My second bit of news is that I’ve recently started training…okay…I was actually supposed to start training on the 30th of December.  Because of said sickness mentioned above…it’s safe to say that it didn’t happen.  So two weeks late, I’m training and loving it.  Well, I’m not necessarily loving the aching hips and the exhaustion that comes with training but I’m loving the running.  Why am I training?  What am I training for?

I’m proud to say that I’ve signed up for the Relay and Run for 21 on March 23!  I’m super excited because this will be my first Half-Marathon that I’m running for my IR4 buddy Riley!  This race means something special to me because the race partially benefits the Down Syndrome Association of St. Louis and my Riley was blessed with Down Syndrome.

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I can’t wait to share this whole experience with her…I just know that I will get to see lots of these smiles along the way…I thank her for her always being an inspiration to me!!  YOU ROCK RILEY!!

My third bit of news is that I completed the I Run 4 my Buddy! Virtual Race and will be taking our medals to the engraver to add the finishing touches this week!  I am super excited to send her medal to her!  She is going to absolutely love it!!

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Stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway for The Color Run!!!!  Woot Woot!!!

 

Do you use a watch of some sort to track your runs? Which one?

What is YOUR inspiration to run (or your fitness of choice)?

 

 

(F-F-F-Frozen) Hot Chocolate Race

Wow!!!  Yesterday was frigid to say the least!!  All I really wanted to do when my alarm went off at 5:00 am was hit the dang thing off, roll over and curl up snug as a bug next to my hubby for some much-needed snuggle time…but instead I got up, dressed in three layers and headed downtown to run in the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K!

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning...Yikes!!!

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning…Yikes!!!

First let me tell you a little bit about the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K!  It has been coined as America’s Sweetest Race, was established in 2008 in Chicago, Illinois and has had over 200,000 participants since then!  Each race features a 15K (9.3 miles) and a 5K (3.1 miles) distance to choose from and all participants receive an amazing goodie bag that you pick up at the Expo along with your bib number!  This year I received an awesome bag and an even awesome-er (that’s a word right?!) jacket!!  Check this thing out!!  It’s awesome and proved very useful the day of the race!!

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Here are all my goodies from the Expo along with my at the Expo!  Loved the race swag 🙂

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After the race, there is usually a huge Post Race Party where runners can enjoy music, a family friendly kid-zone complete with bounce houses/games (they had to cancel the kid-zone due to the temperatures but they did have them at the Expo and my son had a blast) and an awesome Finisher’s Mug filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and tasty treats to dip!!

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The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is the official charity partner for the Hot Chocolate 15/5k race. This program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families and children facing a serious medical crisis so they can stay close by their hospital at little or no cost.  Check out their page for my information on this great program!!

Now back to the actual race….due to the extreme weather (snow, ice, frigid temps) that came through our area on Friday & Saturday…many people were deciding to not go at all due to the extreme cold (it was about 15F at race start) and I easily could have done the same but there was just one problem…you see…I had won this entry from Ashley over at Downsizing Ashley so there was no way I was going to throw away an entry that someone else would have loved to have won!  I was excited to win at the time and I was going to follow through cold or not 🙂  Here is me before the race with my AmAzInG IR4 Riley signage.

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I did, however, switch from the 15K down to the 5K.  I did this for a few reasons, namely that I have just not been running as much lately due to some issues with my one leg (which is better now) and also some deaths in the family.  I just did not feel like I was prepared at all to run the 15K and really did not want to hurt myself.  I’m getting ready to start training for a Half-Marathon in March and really didn’t want to start out injured.  I battled myself with switching for a few days…even right up until the turn off for the 5K’ers to take as the 15K’ers went another route…Why?!  I really kept feeling like a fraud because here I was veering to the right with my 15K Bib showing for all the world to see…I was a little disappointed but  for just a second and then I pulled forward and finished that 5K STRONG!!!  I just have to remember that it’s always better to listen to your body and finish something strong rather than pushing your body too far and not finishing at all.

I also KILLED that Finisher’s Mug of Chocolate-y goodness!!!

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I Run 4….Riley! Who will you run for ?!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of something big…something amazing…something inspirational…something I want and need to tell you all about!!  Recently I came across a website dedicated to matching runners up with Special Needs children who then in turn run for that child.  It is called I Run 4 (IR4)This group “allows runners to find a whole new sense of purpose in their running while sharing who they are running for and bringing awareness to diseases and disabilities of all types“.  I was amazed at the stories I saw and knew in my heart that I wanted to be a part of this also!  I signed up and after about 6-7 weeks, I was matched with the most amazing little girl named Riley.  She is an inspiration to me like no other!  Meet Riley….

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I asked Riley’s mom if she would want to guest post here on my blog also to tell her side of it all and she was more than happy to put something together to share with you.  Here is her story…

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that Jennifer is a runner, something I am definitely not..LOL. Quite frankly I’ve always thought that people who run for fun were just plain crazy. Until my recent commitment to Herbalife and Fit Camps, you’d only find me running if something was after me. HAHA! That being said. I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed by those crazy people who run for fun… and here’s why!

I was introduced to a group called I Run 4 Michael by a friend of mine who had recently signed up as a runner. She encouraged me to sign my daughter Riley up for the program, hoping they would be matched. So I went to the website (http://whoirun4.com) and signed her up. . Some of you may not be familiar with IR4, so here’s a little background… A man named Tim, who loves to run became friends with Michael, who has Down Syndrome as well as bilateral hip dysplasia. Michael was unable to run and told Tim “You can run for me anytime”. This planted a seed that started this wonderful organization. Runners are matched with children with special needs, and they run for them.

Not long after signing up, we were notified of our match…Jennifer.  We have connected through Facebook and Riley gets so excited to see new messages and photos from Jennifer.  We also send messages and pics from Riley to help keep Jennifer inspired to run the extra mile. The I Run 4 group on Facebook is big, it is so awesome to see all of the people running in honor of those who can’t.

I have shared our IR4 story with many of my friends who have in turn signed up their children. This year at our annual Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness, Riley carried a sign that said “I walk for Jennifer because she runs for me” and had the Buddy Walk and IR4 logos on it. It was really special, Riley was so proud of her sign!

Riley is 8 years old and has Down Syndrome, she is smart, funny, and super sassy, and she loves making new friends. I think that is the best part of the I Run 4 organization, the friendships! If you are a runner, I’d like to encourage you to join this wonderful group. You never know the impact you could have on a child. It makes my Riley so happy to know that Jennifer is thinking of her and running for her. I would like to take this opportunity to tell Jennifer “Thank You” for allowing me to guest blog on her site, and for running for Riley. You honor and inspire her, and that means the world to me! We are so excited to get to know you better!  Keep running! ~Alena

Soooooo…how awesome is all that?!  I just love the feeling I get from being a part of this special family and being a part of something so huge and inspirational!  I encourage all of you to go to the I Run 4 website and just check it out.  Maybe you will be inclined to sign up and share your love of running with someone who may not be able to experience it the same way you can…and maybe you wont…but I do promise that you will at least be touched by these stories and these families.

I also encourage all of you that read this to pass it on to your friends.  The waiting list of runners who are eager to be matched with a special needs child has grown large…over 1000 and growing!  If you know a child who would love to become an inspiration to one of our runners…please go and sign them up!  You won’t regret it….I promise that!

I leave you with this amazing video that was put together recently to help spread the word about I Run 4 and to show others what we are all about 🙂

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