Setting the bar high


Today our hosts are asking how much is the most you would pay for a race. I think the most I ever paid was about $125 or so for Las Vegas (my first!). And I’ve gone as low as $35, I think — and pretty much everywhere in between — including free — thank you, Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner!

In addition, I have an exciting announcement to make at the end of this post!

FOMO over your Christmas beach vacations
My races are often our vacations. The discussion usually begins with “is there somewhere you’d like to go?” — if there is, no doubt I’ll find a race there. If there isn’t, well, then you get to come along with whatever crazy idea I’ve concocted.

We don’t typically go anywhere over Christmas break though. No kids. Too much chance of bad weather. So while you might be drooling over my racecation in October, I’m totally green eyed with jealousy over those beach vacations. Because I love me some ocean.

A race about so much more than an entry fee

I was going to say that it would be nice to go do a race by the ocean when it wasn’t off season, but then who am I kidding — I don’t want to race in heat and humidity if I can avoid it! We got so lucky in Panama City Beach.

It’s more than a race, it’s an experience
That’s how I view it, anyway. When you make your races your vacations, even if you have a bad race, hopefully you still have a good vacation (although if you’re in pain, that part can be difficult).

And if you have a good race, well, it just makes your vacation that much more memorable! You can’t always put a price on everything you get out of a race.

If you have a bad race? Well, hopefully you’ve still had a good vacation. When I first started chasing 50 states, mostly we’d put the vacation portion of a racecation after the race. So that I could be (hopefully) rested for the race. Unfortunately, if I ended up injured during a race, that makes enjoying the rest of the vacation difficult — and that’s happened a time or two.

I think that’s a good strategy, though, when you’re are getting started with a long distance goal race. Because that rest is super important when you’re not really used to that distance.

Will run for beer . . . not, LOL!

Once you have several under your belt, and are running regularly, I don’t think it’s quite as important. Of course you should be resting some before a race, but I was pretty darn active before Craft Classic Phoenix (running, hiking) and it didn’t effect my race at all.  It also helps you if you’re changing climates — it gives you at least a few days to acclimate to the new temps/humidity.

Do I have a race cap?
Probably not, although Mr. Judy might have something to say about that! Of course the race fee is only part of the overall picture. But it’s not the whole picture; not to my mind, anyway.

There’s a line from the movie “Practical Magic”, where Nicole Kidman’s character says: “What wouldn’t I do . . . for the right guy?”. I’m not saying that I’d go quite that far for the “right” race, but I don’t run 12 halfs a year. Or 7 . . . or 5 . . . I usually only run about 3 halfs a year.The race entry fee is just one part of the equation.

View from the Utah Valley Half Marathon

Wouldn’t you like to join me in Utah?
My next half marathon is the Best Damn Race New Orleans, but I’ve been dithering about whether or not to do another late spring/early summer half marathon. I got excited about the Glacier Half, but then lodging was a problem. We were thinking about picking one in WA, since we have family there.

And then the Utah Valley Marathon reached out to me. They offered me two free entries into the race (stay tuned for your chance to win one of those free entries — possibly tomorrow; of course I will be using one of them myself) and a discount code for anyone else that wants to join me.

Utah wasn’t really on my radar, except for some serious FOMO over the photos I see from my IG friends. I’ve never been to Utah, and it looks stunning. This race is great practice for the Wineglass Half, too, as you have to take buses to the start (a first for me) and it’s mostly downhill, like Wineglass.

Use code crj15 for 15% off of your entry into the Utah Valley Half Marathon on June 10, 2017. Disclaimer: The Utah Valley Marathon provided me with a free entry, and I will recieve 10% of the revenue from anyone that signs up using my code.

Tell me in the comments:

How high would/have you gone to run a race?

What else do you consider before signing up for a race?

Wouldn’t you love to race Utah with me?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

AON Syndrome


Hey you! You with your face in the cookie plate over there! Listen up.

I like to make up my own acronyms every once in a while. Today’s is AON, which stands for all or nothing.It’s running related, but sufferers tend to suffer with it in all areas of their lives.

Today’s TOTR topic is wrapping up our year, but I’m doing that in tomorrow’s Wednesday Word post (see ya back here tomorrow!).

AON & Running
You’ve got 8 miles on your training schedule but you only have time for 5. What do you do? If you suffer from AON, you might ditch the run altogether because you can’t do what is on your schedule.

The truth? Any run, no matter what length, is a win. Even 5 or 10 minutes will help you stay fit. And if you can’t find a full hour, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there will make a big difference.

Yes, it’s okay to split up runs sometimes. Better something than nothing — make that your new mantra!

AON & Eating
You overindulged at the holiday luncheon at work. Or a family brunch. Or both. What do you do? If you suffer from AON, you might think: “I blew it, I might as well just keep eating and start again tomorrow . . . or Monday . . . or in the new year“.

Which is exactly how so many people gain weight — this time of year, or any other time of year. One bad meal won’t cause you gain 50 pounds. Even a few days of bad meals won’t cause you to gain 50 pounds.

Consistently bad meals? Throwing in the towel because of a bad meal? Yeah, that’s where the weight gain comes from. Every snack, every meal, ever nibble is a chance to get back on track.

As my Weight Watchers leader likes to say, throwing in the towel because you overindulged is like slashing the rest of your tires because you found one tire slashed.

AON & Cleaning
I’m afraid this is one I still suffer with. Probably because I don’t want to clean. I want things to be clean, but I don’t want to put in the effort to make them clean. Especially since I know I just have to do the same things the next week . . . and the next . . . forever & amen.

Yet when I force myself to do one small thing, I often find myself doing more. Much like running, it’s taking that first “step”. Just a little bit of cleaning will make you feel better.

Final Thoughts
I really hope I can get you thinking about AON, how you suffer from it in your life, and how it’s not doing you any favors.

SIBTN: Something is better than nothing. Always!

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

The 4 x 4 Diet (Book Review)


The 4 x 4 Diet (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a fairly simple book about clean eating and a healthy lifestyle geared to beginners and experienced exercisers alike. It includes:

  • Relatively simple, tasty, healthy recipes
  • A simple to follow clean eating program
  • Tabata-style routines from beginner to advanced
  • A meal plan/exericise schedule

I reviewed an ebook, so I can’t speak to how the physical book looks.

Who is The 4 x 4 Diet For?
Anyone interested in trying to eat healthy and stay fit (and maybe lose some weight) by eating and exercising sensibly.

But What’s in the Book?

  1. The Clean and Healthy Lifestyle
  2. Eating Clean
  3. Getting Lean
  4. The 4 x 4 Diet

Erin Oprea lays out her philosophy of getting, and staying, healthy in four sections. She calls it the 4 x 4 Diet because the clean eating is based on 4 simple rules and the tabatas are 4 minutes each. Don’t be fooled by that simplicity; they can get you results!

The first section, The Clean and Healthy Lifestyle, is an overall roadmap to Erin’s take on clean living.

In Eating Clean, Erin delves deeper into what she calls clean eating, and that consists of 4 basic guidelines:

  1. Cutting out starches at night
  2. Reducing sugar
  3. Reducing sodium
  4. Reducing alcohol

Erin guides you through how to stock your pantry, and arms you with simple recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and the occasional treat.

In Getting Lean, Erin gives you a little bit of history on tabatas: interval workouts where you go hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times for 4 minutes of exercise.

Erin lays out a variety of tabatas for you to do, and they are broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Erin ties it all together in The 4 x 4 Diet, where she gives you a 4 week meal and exercise plan.

What I Tried
I tried many of the tabata workouts, at least a few from all the levels. The ones from the advanced level seem so simple, but they kicked my butt — in a good way.

You are supposed to aim to get 4-5 tabatas a day; I usually did 4, with a warmup and a cooldown, and that basically was 30 minutes of exercise.

I’m not sure I’d term them fun and addicting, as Erin does, but I did enjoy them, and I especially love that you can do just one or a couple at a time, and more throughout the day. My philosophy is that small bouts of intense exercise like that throughout the day keeps your metabolism burning all day long.

Erin does say it’s better if you do them back to back, but it’s okay not to. Many involve short bursts of cardio: jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, etc. I had to modify them since I was dealing with some ankle problems, but I still felt I got in great workouts.


Protein Brownies

I tried a few of the recipes: Asian Tuna Steak, Mashed Cauliflower, Honey Roasted Butternut Squash, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies (which I thought were really good, but my husband thought they were dry).

There are actually a lot more recipes I’d like to try, but just didn’t get around to. Most are pretty simple and don’t take a lot of time or strange ingredients. Lunches were heavy on salads, which I do enjoy, except it was quite cold while I was reading the book, and I’m not as into salads when it’s cold.

Some of them are so simple I wouldn’t call them recipes and are actually things I already make, like the Peanut Butter Apple Crunch and the Not-so-boring Brown Rice Cake (only I use a dark chocolate rice cake which really makes it not so boring!).

The only thing I didn’t try was the exercise schedule/meal plan. I’m never good with being told what to eat — I like to do my own thing.

What did I think?
I really enjoyed the workouts. I enjoyed all the recipes I tried. I don’t drink, so that was easy for me. Reducing sugar consumption is always an aim for me, because I have a wicked sweet tooth.

The reason Erin suggests no carbs at night is that we tend to be less active at night, and therefore can’t burn off carbs consumed at night as easily as those consumed earlier in the day, when we’re more active.

I’m not a doctor, or a nutritionist, but even this layperson thinks that’s probably untrue. For the most part, my understanding is that if you eat more than you need, it will be stored as fat, whether or not it’s carbs, protein, or fat.

I was never a fan of the whole “I’m not eating past a certain time” thing. If I’m out late, and I can’t eat til late, you better believe I’m going to eat — otherwise I’ll be starving and much more likely to overeat the next day.

Erin even suggests that you shouldn’t be eating the fruit higher in carbs after 4 pm — apples, bananas, for instance. Again, I highly doubt there is scientific data to prove that a banana after 4 pm will make you fat. I did try to adhere to that rule, and stuck more to mandarins and berries at night, but I won’t lie: there were nights I had the second banana of my day or an apple. I still lost weight.

You are allowed a couple of dinners a week that can be heavier on carbs, and that made it workable for me. I found myself adding back in more carbs during the day, which did seem to make me less hungry towards the evening anyway.

I did lose weight while going through the recipes and the exercises, but it’s unclear if it was due to the tabatas and reducing carbs at night, or simply the fact that I normally start to lose the winter weight around this time of year.

Would I Buy This Book?
Yes, I would. I really enjoyed the recipes, I really enjoyed the workouts, and I plan to keep using both.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Blogging for books

Discalaimer: The links in the post are affiliate links. If you decided buy this book through my link, I’d earn a small amount of income. I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for this review, and all the opinions in this post are my own.

Proud to be representing Skirtsports

I am so proud and excited to have been chosen as one of the 2016 Skirtsports ambassadors. Seriously, I have been acting as an unofficial ambassador for them for years — I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve gotten “cute skirt” in training, in races, and shouted out “Skirtsports”!

Clothes for real women

From the Skirtsports Website:

We pride ourselves on making products that fit real women’s bodies

Of course all companies say that; Skirtsports really means it.

Yes, there are shorts attached to the skirt and pockets!

I am a curvy girl. I am vertically challenged. And I am not reed thin. Let’s just say I don’t have a thigh gap. When I started running I tried running skirts from several well known brands — they always rode up and/or gave me a wedgie.

And then I discovered Skirtsports: Hallelujah! They don’t ride up! And they have pockets on the attached shorties. Pockets large enough so I can stash a cell phone and my ipod and some fuel.

And I am all about the pockets!

But Skirtsports is about so much more than just running/workout clothes.

Inspiring women to move

Running ought to be simple and inexpensive, but the truth is not so much.

That’s where Skirtsports’ Kickstart program comes in. They help women who probably would never be able to start running through mentors, coaching, tips, and more.

But wait, there’s more!

Maybe you’ve seen the #REALwomenmove hashtag?  For every 5000 of these hashtags, a real woman who might not have the opportunities so many of us take for granted gets an outfit and a free entry into a race. 

Top is soooo comfy and I love the message

Sharing Skirtsports with you

I hope by now you’re inspired by the Skirtsports’ message, just as I am. And maybe ready to take the plunge and try out a running skirt. They’re like potato chips — you can’t own just one!

Use code SKIRTLOVE20 for 20% off full priced items at the Skirtsports website.

Basking in the glow of a new PR in my Skirtsports Happy Girl Skirt

All the outfits shown here? They were bought with my own money. Before I became a Skirtsports ambassador. They are not inexpensive, but they’re worth every penny and they have awesome sales. Now that I’m an ambassador, yes, I get a discount. 

But I promise you: I’d still be buying Skirtsports if I hadn’t made the cut. 

Wouldn’t you like to run Maine with me?


I am dreaming of running by the ocean; the seabreeze blowing through my ponytail; the smell of salt in the air. If you’ve never run by the ocean, there’s nothing better and it’s been too long since I’ve had the opportunity.

I just viewed the video of the half marathon course for the Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon (there is also a relay for the half, a full, and if you’re really nuts, you can run the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday.

I won’t lie: although they term the course mostly flat, nothing in New England is flat and it looks challenging. In fact, it looks a lot like the elevation chart from my Green Mountain Half. Redemption for that final hill, maybe?

This race sells out long before race day, so you may want to register early and use my code JLitt for $5 off your registration fee.

Better yet, why not go for a free entry? Go to this link and you’ll be entered to win a free entry. Winners will be notified on 12/21.

If you don’t win, be aware that the price for the races go up $7 (for half, buddy relay & marathon) on 12/31. The price for the 39.3 Challenge increases $14.

Your race fee includes an app with free live tracking for your family & friends — and they can also text you messages via the app that your phone will read to you.

Who will I be racing with me in Maine in May?

Liebster Award, or Getting to know me

Liebster Award


Thanks to Skinny Running for nominating me for my first award. You should definitely check out her blog; she’s a wonderful writer & inspiring person!

Here are the rules for the award:

Liebster award rules
Liebster award rules

Here are the 11 questions she posed to her nominees:

  1. If you could be any age, what age would that be?

    I kind of want to say my current age — I’m a big believer in trying to live in the now.But I’d also like to go back to my later 20s, when I first decided to lose weight. To tell that self that processed foods won’t help you keep the weight off. Cooking most of your own meals is the way to go. With mostly unprocessed ingredients: whole grains, veggies, fruits, healthy fats (and let’s just also mention that low fat is not your friend) and protein.

  2. What’s your favorite word? Least favorite?

    Favorite word: moderation. As in, everything in moderation.Least favorite word (let’s make that words): have to. Nothing will get my back up like someone telling me I have to do something, even if it’s meant in a nice way.

  3. If you could brainwash anybody, who would it be?

    My husband, definitely. Although maybe my Dad . . .

  4. What has been your greatest challenge?

    I want to say my sweet tooth, but that seems kind of wimpy. I’m going with it anyway.

  5. What is your number 1 goal for the future?

    To stay healthy & active for the rest of my life. I want to be running half marathons right up until the end!

  6. If you could get a drink with anyone – alive or dead – who would it be? What would you drink?

    My paternal grandmother. I never knew her. We’d go to high tea, of course (because I don’t drink).

  7. If money was no object, how would you spend your days?

    I’d mostly be doing what I do now – not that money is no object, but we’re comfortable enough that I don’t have to work.However, I’d have a maid, so I would not longer be cleaning my house. And a chauffeur, because I hate to drive. And a masseuse.I’d also go to the movies more often. And I would travel more, go into NYC at least once a year, see more plays.

  8. What’s your favorite book? Film?

    Too many favorites. Current favorite book: Water for Elephants. I read it a few years back, but it’s the last book I remember really loving. So much so I gave it to my parents.Current favorite film (this year): The Imitation Game.

  9. What’s the best gift you have ever received?

    My husband & I spent almost 2 years living apart before we moved here. He traveled back to where I was often, but still, we only saw each other once or twice a month.He called me after he first left; I won’t drag it out, but he’d bought me a tennis bracelet (you know, the kind with a lot of small diamonds). I think I was so touched because a) It was a total surprise & b) He had to actually plan out the surprise.

  10. What TV character are you most like?

    Maybe a combination of Monica & Rachel from Friends. Obviously I didn’t get Monica’s cleaning gene, but in some things I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I love to cook/bake & have battled a weight problem.I love fashion like Rachel. Clearly not career driven — as Rachel wasn’t in the beginning (although it’s never really changed for me & it did for her). I’m Jewish.

  11. I will also ask a question posed to me. What blog post are you most proud of?

    Probably DFL: the same for elite as BOTP?. That one really came from my heart.


I nominate:

Run Young 50
Zucchini Runner
The Pursuit of a Quality Life
Skinny Fitalicious
Running on Pinot
Brooklyn Active Mama
Running over the Hill
Confessions of a Mother Runner
Running Races Coast to Coast
This Runner’s Recipes

And here are my 11 questions. If I didn’t nominate you, feel free to answer some or all of the questions in the comments. Visit some of the blogs I nominated, too. I’m hoping to find more blogs to follow (although seriously, how many blogs can you follow? Oooh, I think I have my first question):

  1. How many blogs do you follow?
  2. Have you met any of the bloggers you follow in real life? Who?
  3. Tell me one thing about you I would never guess.
  4. How many states/countries have you lived in? Which was your favorite?
  5. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  6. If you could do something other than your current job, what would it be?
  7. What advice would you give your younger self?
  8. Are you a planner or more a go with the flow sort of person?
  9. Salty or sweet or both?
  10. Cold or hot weather? Why?
  11. What advice would give to someone who wanted to start a blog?

I thought coming up with 11 new questions would be the hardest part, but it really wasn’t! Really looking forward to reading everyone’s answers.

5 Fitness Trends I Won’t Try

Today I’m linking up with Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run for 5 things I won’t try. I like trying stuff, but there are plenty of things I won’t do.

  1. A Juice Cleanse
    I think there are times to eat cleaner than normal – say, after a holiday – but I have no desire to get all my calories through liquids.

  2. Anything involving mud!
    You’ve seen the saying “slower than a herd of turtles running through peanut butter”? I feel that way when I’m not running through mud! Not to mention I pay damn good money for these running shoes!

  3. Triathalon
    I love to swim & inevitably the next question is when are you going to try a tri? I don’t bike. Bikes scare me. True, I can – and have – fallen running, but only once (well, twice, technically, but it was on the same run), but it seems to me that spills are more frequent with bikes. Probably stems back to the time I fell on my bike on our gravel driveway as a kid.

  4. A 24 Hour Race
    I don’t want to do a full marathon because I don’t want to run that long. I need my sleep. It would really have to be a damn good cause to get me to run an entire day without sleep

  5. Laughter Yoga
    Love me some yoga, but seriously?

I love to try all sorts of new things: new food, new clothes, new ways of eating, new exercise DVDs. But I’m not an adrenaline junkie. So there are also lots of things I won’t try. I am on the fence about things like Ragnar. Not that anyone has been beating down my door about it, although I have been asked in an offhand sort of way. People do seem to love it. But I like my sleep.

Are you trendy? What fitness trends have you tried? Did you like them? What are your thoughts on Ragnar?

What amazes me about running

  • It always amazes me the difference a race makes to my pace. I won’t say running 11 minute miles are easy for me, but they are far easier in a race than in a training run. Thank you, adrenaline.

  • I’m amazed at how much stuff I need to run. Of course, you don’t need stuff to run, other than shoes (optional in some countries) & clothes, but I usually end up laying out at least 3 different tops the night before a race – short sleeves? Tank? A warmer tank? Just in case? Then there’s fuel if the race is more than an hour. Pre & post race snacks. Hat or visor? Sunglasses. The list goes on and on . . .

  • I’m amazed at how much the weather effects my pace. I really shouldn’t be by now, but I always think I will do better than the last time it was hot & humid. And I rarely do.

  • I’m amazed by all the wild running shoe designs.

  • I’m amazed every time I get back up to double digit runs. Because I don’t do double digit runs year round.

  • I’m amazed that something that can be so tiring, so painful, so time consuming can get under your skin and keep you coming back for more.

  • I’m amazed that I run.

What amazes you about running?

Thursdays are for thinking out loud