Tag Archives: Giveaway

Running Wisdom & Giveaway Winner

Well, hello there!!!

Have you read my last post on whether you should run with or without music? I absolutely LOVED the discussion it created! At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong as long as it makes you happy and brings you peace or the burst of energy you are craving!

First of all, I would like to congratulate Roxanne who won my giveaway for the Armpocket by following my blog via email! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it because I love mine!

congratulations

Source

Today I’d like to share some of my random Instagram ‘wisdom’. I recently started looking up some quotes before heading out for a run. This way I have something to reflect about. I actually enjoy this new habit of mine!

be kind

Don’t you love it when you run and a passerby says or nods you ‘Hello’ or simply gives you an encouraging smile? It doesn’t take much to be kind. 

Yesterday, I was reading one of my blogger friend’s post, Anna from Piper’s Run, and she mentioned how her daughters saw a lady running past their house and started cheering for her. Wouldn’t you want to be that runner?

I think this is one of the reasons I loved my Spartan experience so much: There was this sense of unity and support where competitors encouraged each other and stopping to made sure that no one was hurt. *Sprint, Super, Beast 1 & 2.* It was great!

Also don’t forget about those you care about the most because they tend to be neglected the most. Make sure you kiss and hug them and tell you love them. It never gets old.

the grass is green

As of recent, I find that my running experience has improved drastically. Why? I stopped comparing myself to others. It’s not a competition to me anymore, it’s MY running journey. I want to make this journey memorable and without any regrets.

It’s so sad when comparison prevents us from even starting something new! I know it has stopped me in the past. And there was no better feeling than chucking that heavy weight off my shoulders and living my life for me.

fix your ponytail

This quote is, once again, simply a reminder to all of us to be true to ourselves and train at our own pace. We don’t have anything to prove to anybody. Your health journey is YOUR journey. Stop comparing yourself to others. Ultimately, your own happiness should always prevail!

So if one of your workouts didn’t go as planned, who cares? Have some rest, cheer up and go for it again the next day! Consistency pays off and so does listening to your body!

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Do you ponder about life when you exercise? What’s some of your most recent wisdom?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Motivation

Should You Run With Or Without Music?

Happy Monday, y’all!

Before I jump into a rather serious subject *chuckle*, I would like to remind you that my giveaway for Armpocket ends tonight at midnight. Make sure to enter your chance to win this amazing fitness gadget here.

It is Week 4 of my half-marathon training! The training is as follows:

Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – cross train for 30-40 minutes (Total Body + Booty)
Wednesday – 4  miles + Yoga
Thursday – cross train for 30-40 minutes (HIIT + arms)
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 7 miles + Abs
Sunday – rest day

*Week 1, Week 2, Week 3*

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Last Saturday, when I went for a 6-mile run, it dawned on me: I have been running without any music for the past month and a half! Somehow it just happened, which is somewhat crazy considering the fact that I was always dependent on my Ipod so much.

It goes back all the way to my Spartan training. *You can read more about races themselves here: Sprint, Super, Beast 1 & 2.* I remember thinking to myself: How am I gonna pull myself through without any music to pump me up when my energy runs low? But I managed without it. It was the first time, believe it or not, that I ran without any music. *Obviously, excluding the ‘unfortunate’ times when I was training and my battery died mid-run.*

And this got me thinking. It happens that in the past month and a half, my running has been the most enjoyable. I guess, at first I started out running with Sofia in a stroller and wanted to be aware of my surroundings for the safety of my daughter,so I didn’t listen to the music. Then I brought my dog, Bella, along with me and wanted to be aware of any people on bicycles, roller blades, etc. *Read more about how to run with you dog here.* And here I am, actually enjoying running without music. Who would have guessed?!

jumping over the fire

I turned to Google for help. According to Runners World’s poll, it appears that the majority of runners prefer to run with music:” 74% – say runners should listen to music while running, should they so choose. 8,354 voted yes, 2,974 voted no.” 

I was not surprised to see that, especially that I was dependent on it as well. But then another question popped: What are the benefits of running with and without music? Here is the result of my brainstorming and research.

Reasons to run WITHOUT music:

  • I personally feel more in tune with my body. I find it easier to focus on my breathing and foot strike when there are no other distractions. I am able to be aware of my effort.
  • As I mentioned before, it is more safe. I can hear if a car is approaching. It is easier for me to react if I am in danger.
  • I am not sure if it is a direct result of not having music blasting in my ears, but I have been able to reflect much more than previously. Before, I struggled with my inability to’get lost in my thoughts’, but not anymore. I’m enjoying to have the opportunity to explore what’s happening in my head and to be in tune with myself. And because of this, my runs seem to fly by.
  • Finally, I truly started to enjoy my surroundings: The birds chirping, the breeze, the sound of my feet hitting the ground, Bella’s panting. It is incredible to be able to enjoy and to be in the moment.

Super Spartan fire

Pro’s for running WITH music:

  • It’s easier for runners, especially beginners, to get distracted from running discomfort to make their runs more enjoyable and easier.
  • Music as an external stimuli can block of some of your fatigue and get you pumped. This can result in longer distances or even faster speed since a perception of your body’s limits is reduced.
  • Upbeat songs can elevate your mood and create excitement.
  • If you do it properly, music can create opportunity to change up paces.
  • It is definitely a life savior on a treadmill since music creates at least some entertainment in otherwise monotone workout.

Super Spartan finish line

I came across some advice some time ago, I think in Runners World, that it’s optimal to go for at least one run without music for every two times that you run with it. To me it makes sense, since there are many races in which headphones are forbidden.

What are your thoughts? Do you run with or without music?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Running

Check In With Sofia: 9 Months Old + Giveaway

Last weekend I had a brunch with a great friend of mine. We had a very interesting conversation. It had to do with what we are passionate about.

Before I had Sofia, I was really apprehensive about being on maternity leave for almost a year. I loved being surrounded by people, so the thought of being home all this time kind of scared me.

Fast forward 9 months. I’m loving it. Of course, I LOVE spending time with my daughter and seeing her grow. But what’s even more, I feel like I’ve never been so comfortable with myself. I’ve learned so much about myself.

she decided to live the life she'd imagined
Source

This may sound selfish, but I really don’t think it is. We are normally so caught up with work, groceries, this and that, that we barely spend any time to think and reflect about who we are and what it is that truly makes us happy. Yes, it may seem pointless, but it is a truly rewarding process.

By knowing yourself better, you will be happier. When you are happy, your happiness passes onto others. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and others.

Yet… I can’t believe that our little chunky monkey turned 9 months old last week!

Sofia 9 months old

Over the past month Sofia has learned a lot! Now she crawls on all four as opposed to sliding on her stomach. Honestly, it’s the cutest thing! She knows her way around the house, so she moves ahead with determination. *If you know what I mean.*

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She stands up everywhere. And I mean, EVERYWHERE! The most favourite place at the moment is my bookshelf. Sofia is fascinated by my books, and they MUST be pulled out if possible! *That’s how I know that she’s a mommy’s girl! Haha!* Also, our baby girl enjoys to walk with our help. I wouldn’t be surprised if she soon starts walking on her own.

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And everything has to pass the taste test!

The funniest thing is when Sofia is in her stroller or on a swing *another favourite place to be*, she loves to hold on to it with one hand. Imagine you’re driving your car and stick one hand out. That’s how it looks! Too cute for words!

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Obviously, she does a bunch of cute things like waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, doing ‘high five’ and clapping her hands. We are head over heels in love with her!

Sofia now ways 17.8 pounds and measures 72 cm. That’s a lot of happiness right there!

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If you’ve missed previous check-in’s, here they are:

Also don’t forget to participate in my giveaway for the Armpocket! It ends at 12 am on April 26th. So don’t waste any time, and head over here to enter your chance to win it!

Do you have kids? What are your fondest memories of when they were babies?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

19 Comments

Filed under Family

5 Running Must Haves & Armpocket Review and Giveaway

Happy Hump Day y’all!

How fun was this Monday’s guest post, where coach Suz shared her 5 tips on  how to train for your first half?! A big THANK YOU to all of you who chirped in the conversation! There’s so much to learn.

First half-marathon training tips

The best part about running is that you don’t really need a gym membership or any fancy gear to get started. However, when you are new to the running world everything looks helpful. Sometimes it may get overwhelming and difficult to know what you actually need and what is superfluous. I would like to share some of my favorite running necessities that I can’t live without.

  1. Well-fitted running shoesI found some great tips on how to find perfect running shoes at Run Addicts, here are some of them:
    • Go to the store in the evening: ‘studies have shown feet tend to expand few millimeters up to 2 centimeters by the end of the day’.
    • Make sure to wear socks you normally run in.
    • There must be a finger-width space between your great toe and the shoe box and  a thumb width at the end of the shoe. ‘You will end up buying shoes that are bigger in size than what you normally wear but that’s perfectly OK.’ However, don’t exceed a finger-width span!
    • ‘NEVER wear a brand new running shoe for a race; make sure you already used them for 100 miles runs at minimum’.

    Here is some more.

    Running shoes infographic

    Source

    *Read more on this here.*

     

  2. Foam RollerI have a love-hate relationship with my foam roller. It hurts so much at first, but then feels soooooo good. If you have never foam rolled before, head over to one of my previous posts to find out how to do it as a pro!Benefits of Foam Rolling
  3. Proper Hydration

    I can’t stress enough the importance of staying hydrated not only when you go out for a run but also throughout the day. Why? Because it affects your performance and overall health!I personally like to use a water pack on longer runs *It was my life savior during the Spartan Beast race!*. I will also be soon trying out a Hydro Belt that I recently got as a gift from my parents.Regardless of what your preference is, take your water with you or simply stop at water fountains if it’s an option!
    Why dehydration is making you fat and sick

    Source

    For more hydration tips check out:
    Hydration 101 – 8 hydration myths busted & tips on how to stay hydrated this summer.
    4 Flavoured Water Recipes that will make you excited about drinking water.

  4. Hat & Sunscreen 

    Sunstroke is a real thing, so apply your sunscreen diligently and don’t forget your hat before you get outside.running away from the sun
    Source 

  5. Armpocket!

I was recently contacted by a representative from Armpocket to review their product. I was super excited about this opportunity because I use an app on my phone that tracks my runs, so I absolutely have to have it on me.

Armpocket 1

Previously I used a Flip Belt, which I still like very much. However, I always had to remove the case from my phone to be able to fit it in. *Our phones are getting bigger and bigger by the day! What’s up with that?* It worked, but it was challenging for me to take out my phone mid run. *Oh please, don’t you have to ABSOLUTELY take a picture of something? ‘Ahhh, that’s such a beautiful sunset!’, ‘Check out that beaver!’ LOL!* Also, when I run, I sweat… I won’t go too much in detail, but I think it’s a common knowledge that our phones are home to all kinds of bacteria as is.

So what is an Armpocket?

It is an armband that was engineered with many unique features that provides a comfortable and secure way of carrying their smart phones, keys, IDs and other ‘necessities’ for active people. It is weather and sweat proof. It has a touch-though screen, so you can freely use your apps. It’s moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, natural bamboo rayon back and vented strap keep you cool and dry.

I was recommended to get Ultra i-35 based on the type and size of my phone. I picked it in Arctic Blue with a medium strap which is good for arm size 10″ to 15″.*It is available in 3 strap length.*

Ultra i-35 armpocket

Of course, I was a bit apprehensive since I’m not used to have anything bulky on my arms as I run. I also wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable and whether it would slip.

I was very pleasantly surprised! To be honest, I completely forgot that I even had it on my arm. I didn’t experience any discomfort: My Armpocket didn’t slip nor did it bounce. I also looooove that it has 3 little pockets inside, so my phone won’t get scratched!

I can assure you that you will be seeing it a lot in my pictures. It’s perfect for any workout or an afternoon hike!

Armpocket 2

My friends at Armpocket were super generous and let me do a giveaway for you guys! One lucky pal or gal will win an Armpocket of their choice. The giveaway is available only to the residents of the U.S. and Canada. All you’ve got to do to enter the draw is to participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway in the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will be closed at 12am on April 26th (Eastern Time). I will contact the winner via email, so please make sure that you provide me with one.

Be sure to check out Armpocket Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

What are your must haves when you run?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

32 Comments

Filed under Giveaway, Half-Marathon Training, Reviews, Running, Uncategorized

5 Pieces of Advice You Need for Your First Half Marathon from Coach Suz

Happy Monday, my dear friends!
Today I decided to do something different. As most of you know, I’ve signed up to run my first half marathon this year. This is my 3rd week of training and I’m absolutely loving it! *By the way, so does Bella! If you missed my post on how to turn your pooch into an endurance animal, you can read it here.* I may not be super thrilled to get myself out of the door every single run, yet the runners high post-run is totally worth it. Add some yoga and foam rolling to it, and I’m in heaven! *Haha!*
First half-marathon training tips
Here’s my plan for this week:
Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 30-40 minutes of cross training
Wednesday – 4 miles
Thursday – 30-40 minuts of cross training
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 6 miles
Sunday – rest day
Anyhow, back to the subject. I asked one of my dearest blogger friends, Susie, to do a guest post for me on half-marathon training. She is a big inspiration to me not only when it comes to running, but in general. I’d love to pick her brain if  I ever travel to Chicago and get to meet her in the flesh! Oh, and this girl is hilarious! And maybe, just maybe, you may have spotted her on Just Jillian episode during a mic malfunction in Chicago. *If you did, it was priceless!*
Without further ado, meet my beautiful friend Suz!
Susie Lemmer 2 
Hi Everyone! I am so chuffed to be here – I absolutely adore Olena and her gorgeous family, and I was so happy when she asked me to guest post on half marathon advice! For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Now, enough about me, let’s talk training!
So you’ve decided to run your first half marathon. The moment that you decide to embark on this adventure, you are going to hear advice, comments, and well (?) meaning suggestions from all sides. I am going to do you a solid and boil much of what you will be told to 5 pieces of advice that should guide your half marathon training. Here we go!
  1. Treat recovery and rest days like you do long runs, cross training, and all your other training days: as necessary evils/pleasures. The mark of a great runner as opposed to a good runner is one that accepts rest and recovery as being as important to the plan as the biggest workouts! And as they are as important, learn how to nail your recovery days. This doesn’t mean spending them sitting on your biscuit and doing nothing. Check out my tips for optimal muscle recovery, and also make sure that you still get up and move around some on your days off.
  2. Just because you are running a half marathon does not mean that you are going to run a marathon but know that you just might! Half marathons are kind of your make or break distance, in many ways. For a long time, I thought the half marathon was all I ever wanted to do; I had no interest in marathons. But I got curiouser and curiouser, as it were, and I decided that I would go for it (to be honest, the same thing happened with my blog writing!). And now, I’m a running coach. But to wit, remember that just because you are running a half does not mean that now you must run a full. Run a full when you want to, and the timing is best, if at all.Susie lemmer
  3. Get fitted for running shoes by an expert, and one month into training, go back and buy another pair of shoes (possibly different brand or model!). I say wait a month because you want to know that you really dig those shoes, and you will need that much time to get to the miles that will let you know that you like them and they fit properly. Blisters are not badges of honor. That is the sign of a bad fit–be it the shoes overall or just improper lacing. Once you have your two pairs of shoes, rotate them. This is how I rotate my shoes during training.
  4. Do a taste test of fuels before you go out on the road/trail. Make sure that you can stomach what you are going to shove in your mouth however many miles in before you are out there and desperate. HUGE thing here: carbohydrates must be taken with water. Not lots of water, but at least 4 oz/125 mL. Otherwise? You won’t absorb the energy, and you might just revisit that carbohydrate. Not fun. 
  5. Half marathon training (and training in general) is going to test you physically, mentally, and emotionally, but if you go about it properly, you should not get burned out from running. That isn’t to say that every run will be perfect, but you shouldn’t curse running by the time of the race. Check out my post on avoiding marathon training burn out, and think critically about your schedule, training plan, and your approach, and make decisions for how to make training sustainable
Because ultimately? I want you to love it so much that you come back for more. 

There is so much more advice that I could give you, but for that, I urge you to check out my blog, contact me at Coach Suz Training for one-on-one running coach and personal training services, and start picking people’s brains! Have fun, stay injury free, and live beyond expectations!

Find me as well on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook at @Suzlyfe and Instagram @the_suzlyfe

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Thank you so much for your amazing advice, Suz! *Isn’t she awesome?!* If you still haven’t, make sure to check out her blog for more advice and laughs. I can assure, you won’t be let down. I’ve been her fan ever since we ‘met’ in the blog world over 2 years ago.

Finally, don’t forget to check in with me this WEDNESDAY as I will be hosting a GIVEAWAY! *Hint: Fitness junkies, you will really love this one!*

Now it’s your turn!

Have you run or trained for a half- or even full-marathon? What is the biggest piece of advice you could share?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

25 Comments

Filed under Guest Posts, Half-Marathon Training, Running

CanvasPop Christmas Giveaway

Hi friends!!!!

Can you believe it’s December already?! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And to celebrate, my friends at CanvasPop are giving you the chance to win your Christmas. *You may recall my collaboration with them last spring.*

WinYourChristmas_Header

Featuring prizes from VISA, Apt2B, Toys R Us, and Best Buy, CanvasPop has got the perfect prize pack to help you fill up your stockings with gifts for the whole family.

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Prize pack includes:
$1,000 VISA Gift Card
$200 Best Buy Gift Card
$200 Toys ‘R’ Us Gift Card
$400 Apt2B Gift Card
$500 CanvasPop Gift Card
Samsung 40” 1080p Smart TV

So what are you waiting for? Enter tomorrow to win this awesome prize pack and make this Christmas one to remember!

WinYourChristmas_CTA

Additional Contest Details:

The Win Your Christmas giveaway will run from December 2 – 11, 2015.
The giveaway will close on December 11 at 11:59PM (Pacific Time).
The winner will be notified via email on December 12.
The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada.
Individuals are limited to 1 entry per email address but may gain additional entries through entry methods specified on the giveaway landing page.

Good luck!!!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Giveaway, Uncategorized

Baby Bump 25-week Fitness Update & CanvasPop Giveaway Winner!

Hello darlings!

Today’s post will be rather short because I would like to announce the winner of the CanvasPop giveaway!

and the winner is

If you didn’t win, don’t be upset; peeps at CanvasPop were super nice and provided all of my readers with a discount code CANDIES35 to get a rebate of 35% off any order until April 30. Just in case you are wondering, I am not getting any percentage of sales if you do end up using their services; I do, however, truly believe that you will be really happy and satisfied with the service and quality you will receive from CanvasPop.

Without further ado, the winner is… *Drum Roll!!!*

giveaway winner

Congratulations, Danielle! I will be contacting you shortly in order to provide you with all details on how to redeem your prize!

And here is a quick check in of my baby bump at 25 and a half weeks.

25.5 weeks

The baby girl is growing!… GROWING VERY FAST!… and so is my belly! *Haha!*

I’ve been really active this week. I attended my first prenatal aqua class on Monday, which was super fun!

I also decided to cut down on running and started biking/spinning instead. It was a nice change, but I definitely had to do some adjustments. For one, I have to keep my back straight up instead of leaning forward or otherwise the bump is in the way. *#PregnancyProblems haha!*

spinning

In addition, I’ve been focusing on toning my arms and legs with an occasional dance HIIT from Gina or, as many of you may know her, Fitnessista. *Fun, fun, fun!* By the way, have you heard? She is expecting too!!!

SoliBeat

And, of course, I’ve been taking relaxation quite seriously! *LOL!*

Lush bubble bath

I’d like to hear from you now. Is there anything that you would like me to share with you in terms of how my pregnancy is going? Cravings? Workouts? Pains? Hopes? Fears? Please, do let me know!

Have a great weekend!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Pregnancy