Dear SELF Magazine

Dear SELF Magazine,

I am disappointed on you on two counts right now. The first, when you called horseback yoga “lame” on your March issue “BS Meter”, it simply annoyed me. As a therapeutic horseback riding professional, it is apparent to me you have no knowledge on this topic. In our industry, we routinely use yoga breathing to calm riders and horses and use yoga stretches for physical health. You know, like one would do in yoga? For many of our riders who cannot walk, doing these things on a horse simulates the feeling of walking. Not to mention that the warmth of the horse is good for muscles. Ever heard of hot yoga? Same basic concept. I challenge you to visit a therapeutic riding facility and tell me it’s not beneficial. But, I was willing to forgive this as ignorance.

However, contacting Glam Runner‘s Monika Allen, asking to use a picture of her in your magazine under false pretenses is inexcusable. You called this woman “lame” for running in tutu – a woman who operates a business making and selling tutus for CHARITY. A woman who ran her first marathon AFTER a brain cancer diagnosis. A woman who has survived cancer and should be a poster woman for magazines such as yours. 

In fact, your very mission, according to your media kit is as follows:

SELF is the magazine that makes living healthy easy and fun.SELF‘s motto: Being fit, strong and active means feeling great, being happy and looking your most beautifulSELF speaks to women about three key areas of her being: her body, her looks and her life. With trademark authority, SELF delivers the latest, greatest, most efficient ways to get fit and healthy—offering breakthrough moves, food and science, plus inspiring images and coaching that keep her drive alive. SELF gives her beauty and fashion advice customized for her active lifestyle, so she looks as great as she feels. SELF makes it fun and fulfilling to be your happiest, healthiest, best self. Reaching a total audience of 12 million each month, SELF is the founder of the Pink Ribbon for breast cancer awareness and an ASME National Magazine Award winner for excellence in journalistic achievement in print and digital.

Way to contradict yourself, SELF Magazine. When I look at the picture of Monika in her tutu, I see BEAUTIFUL woman being stronger than I hope I’ll ever have to be, living an ACTIVE and FUN life.  Actually, I see two beautiful, active, fun women…though I don’t know her friend’s name!

I’m sorry, but back-peddling and issuing this apology on your Facebook after you’ve been called out by your readers is just “lame.” I call BS.

On behalf of SELF, we sincerely apologize for our inadvertent insensitivity. I have personally reached out to Monika and her supporters online to apologize for the misstep and tell them we are trying to remedy the situation. At SELF we support women such as Monika; she is an inspiration and embodies the qualities we admire. We have donated to her charity and have offered to cover her good work in a future issue. We wish her all the best on her road to good health.

Most sincerely,

Lucy Danziger

I can’t help but wonder how much insulting her and using her picture for something other than originally stated is worth as far as a donation goes. Also, how nice of you to “offer” to cover her good work in a future issue.

Putting other women down and making fun of them, regardless of the circumstances, goes against your very mission statement. It makes your staff look like a bunch of “mean girls.” It hurts the strides women are taking into making this a better world where women support and cheer FOR and WITH each other.

What I can tell you is that I won’t be renewing my subscription because I’d rather spend that time reading magazines and blogs that truly are about health and empowering women. And running in tutus.

Sincerely,
A Former Self Magazine Reader

I will be purchasing a tutu from Glam Runner in the near future because personally, I LOVE running in costume, including tutus. If you do, too, hop over to Twitter and post your tutu pic in support of Monika and all of the other beautiful, amazing, fit, active, and strong women out there. #tutusrock  #getoveryourSELFmagazine

Tutu

The Tooth Fairy ALWAYS runs in a tutu!

 

 

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Celebration of the Lakes 5k – 2014

On Saturday, January 25th, I ran the Celebration of the Lakes 5k in Lindstrom, MN. This year marks the third year I’ve run this race, though not consecutively, as I took last year off to get married. It is also the first 5k I ever ran, so I try to keep this one on the rotation as a celebration of my running anniversary.

Anyone who has been watching the weather forecasts lately knows that most of the US has been under a deep freeze the past few weeks. The temperature at race time was -1* with 12 mph winds and -12* windchills. Plus, the start/finish line was next to a frozen lake. So very Minnesotan.

I dressed in more layers than I have ever worn for running before – fleece lined leggings, running pants, wool running socks, a base layer shirt, a thick fleece, a wind breaker, neck gaiter, two pairs of gloves, a running beanie and my running shoes. That doesn’t even include the gadgets!

Parking was on the road in a residential area next to the lake. It’s a small town, so there was no need to get there too early. I arrived about 15 minutes before start time, which was plenty of time to walk a block or so to pick up my bib, go back to my car to put on said bib and warm my fingers, walk back down to the start line to use the restroom, visit with a running friend (hi, Katy!) AND line up. The field of runners was VERY small, so that definitely helped with the logistics. For such a small race, it’s impressive that it’s chip-timed.

Anyway, the race started promptly at 10am with an announcement from the race director. The course was different from the both of the previous two years I ran and we started uphill from the lake, then took a right after a few blocks and headed up a busy thoroughfare toward the high school. Since it was an out-and-back, the turnaround was at the school. Having started uphill, the finish was downhill, which is always nice.

Due to the previous night’s snow and recent cold temperatures, the footing was a bit slick, but it was the biting wind that made things the most difficult. My lungs just didn’t want to keep up, but this is my fault since I haven’t been doing any running outside this winter. I’m really glad I had my neck gaiter to breathe into when needed. The crazy thing was that my upper body was overheated from dressing too warm! My legs were just about perfect and I stripped one of my two pairs of gloves about halfway through.

My finishing time was 37:22 according to my GPS watch, which is slow, but not unreasonable considering the conditions and my lack of winter training. I did not go to the start tent for refreshments afterward, so I’m not sure what they offered for goodies after the race.

Final thoughts: the area surrounding Lindstrom is full of lakes and rather than run around/near one of them, this year’s course was in the middle of town, which was a bit disappointing. Overall, though, it’s a well-run race with a cute long-sleeve t-shirt. Personally, I love that it’s only a 15 minute drive from my house and parking is easy! Plus, I only paid $15 for this race thanks to a Black Friday special through the race organizer, FrontRunner, which can’t be beat. I’m hoping they choose a prettier course next year, but either way I’ll probably be back.

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Review: Wellvize

As I mentioned in my last post, this year I’m re-focusing on my running and have signed up for another half marathon (or two) this year. This year, though, I’m following a training plan. Crazy, I know.

My primary reason for deciding to actually follow a training plan is because I felt so horrible when I finished the half marathon distance before. Well, that and the fact that I could barely walk for three days afterward.

Like most people, I went online and search training plans and massaged one to follow my currently weekly schedule. That was until I heard about online coaching from Wellvize from this blogger, Kat. (Whom I had the privilege of meeting at one of the last Metrodome runs). You can read her Wellvize review here.

Once I heard how much progress Kat was seeing in just a few short weeks working with a Wellvize coach, I started thinking about it. After a few days of thinking, I decided I had nothing to lose by trying it out.

Registering on the site was very easy. You can even get a FREE two week trial by going to wellvize.com/fitness. Payment is made through PayPal and is set up as a monthly recurring charge unless you cancel – which you can easily do directly through PayPal.

Once I registered, I got an email from a coach almost immediately. Coach Dan (I don’t know if he goes by Coach Dan, but in my mind he does) asked me questions about my goals, workout preferences, schedule and the kind of equipment I have access to. After I responded to his first round of questions, he sent a few more specific questions asking me about my pace goals, longest recent run, etc. Shortly after he received my responses to those questions, I had an email saying that my workout schedule had been updated.

I quickly logged into the Wellvize site, which you can easily do from your phone, and there were two weeks of workouts outlined. On the bottom of each workout, it had a note field asking if any changes were necessary. I had one small change and shortly after entering that information, I got an updated workout.

Then, I jumped into the first week of workouts. I love that any strength workouts are linked to a site where you have the option to watch animation videos of the moves, as well as the option to print out the workout with full instructions for each move!

Coach Dan’s workouts were definitely harder and longer than I had originally planned based on the half marathon training plan I was looking at. I personally think this is a good thing and exactly why I even considered online coaching/training. I need to be pushed harder than I would push myself and I need to be accountable to someone other than friends and family who will let me slide if I “don’t feel like” exercising.

At the end of the day, or after you complete a workout, you log into Wellvize and check off whether you did the workout or not and you can leave as much detail on the workout as you’d like in the note field; that information is then used by your coach/trainer to further customize your workout plan.

I just started my third week of using Wellvize and so far I’m very happy with the progress I’m seeing in my running performance as well as the fact that ALL of my workouts are tailored to be done at home with equipment I own, since I don’t belong to a gym.

Things that I love about Wellvize:

  • Viewing my workout plan is simple, as is logging information for my coach.

  • I get an entire week of workouts at a time so I can easily plan my week.

  • No gym necessary and since it’s virtual, it’s flexible enough to fit into any schedule.

  • Workouts use equipment I already own, so it keeps costs down.

  • Response times are FAST both via email and via the workout log on the website.

  • It’s a customized program to meet MY goals and needs.

  • The cost is only $20 per month!

Things I dislike about Wellvize:

  • Nothing – at least not yet. I’m still in the honeymoon phase, so things may change as we get a few more weeks into it. However, I’m really hoping this is just the start of a great relationship.

I realize that a program like this won’t work for everyone. Some people need the face-to-face time with a trainer to meet their goals. Others are GREAT at making their own workout plans and pushing themselves hard enough to meet their goals.

However, if you’re like me and really just need someone to take the guesswork out things for you, I highly recommend giving Wellvize a try!

As I get further into my training plan with Coach Dan, I plan to give more thoughts and feedback on how it’s going. The true test, however, won’t be until I run my half marathon in May since that’s the goal I’m working toward.

If you give Wellvize a try, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Have you ever use an online coaching or training program?

*Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this review. I simply like sharing information about products and services I enjoy.*

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Out with the Old, In with the New

I’m a little late in getting this stuff posted, but to be honest, I just felt like time has flown too quickly since the holidays. In the last two weeks, I feel like I’ve finally had a chance to slow down, get things back to normal and start planning and preparing for 2014.

Starting with the Old (2013):

I had a lot of lofty goals for 2013 and I’m a bit sad to say that I didn’t meet very many of them.

  • Start trail running – this one was a fail. I don’t think I did a single trail run during the year.

  • Finish a duathlon – I was registered for one, but late snow and a super soggy spring didn’t allow for me to get out on my bike before the date I was registered. So, I deferred my race entry to a fall race and just never found the motivation to get out the bike. Needless to say, I let my entry fee go to waste. At least it was only $20 thanks to a Black Friday deal.

  • Run a sub-30 5k – Nope, didn’t happen. I basically gave up on running completely for most of 2013, so I obviously wasn’t working on speedwork to improve my times.

  • Complete a round of either TurboFire or ChaLean Extreme – Nope. Along with giving up on running, I pretty much gave up on ALL fitness endeavors. I’m still not sure where my motivation disappeared to or why.

  • Exercise five times per week – see above.

  • Visit Sadie (my horse) at least once per week – I’m ashamed to admit that I failed on this one, too. I have no excuse and need to correct this one.

  • Blog three times per week – I just didn’t have motivation to write, either.

  • Read 50 books during the year – I didn’t meet this particular number of books, but definitely had some improvement over the previous year. I didn’t track my books, but I’m guessing I was around the halfway mark.

  • Run 350 miles – Not even close. My total for the year was 199 miles.

  • Run a sub-55 minute Warrior Dash – Mission accomplished! I actually ran a 53:59 Warrior Dash!

  • Family trip to Mount Rushmore – We were too busy moving, making improvements to the house and figuring out our family routine that it just didn’t happen.

  • Pay off student loan – Didn’t even make any extra payments, sadly. Plus, this was a goal that was definitely outside of realistic.

  • Mission trip with church – Mission accomplished! I went to Wildwood Hills Ranch in Iowa with church to service at-risk youth. It was a great experience and I met a lot of interesting and inspiring people. You can read about it here.

  • Sell my house – We took this one off the list when we realized that it made more sense to live there, at least for a while. A decision I’m very happy about.

  • Survive Ragnar Relay – Mission accomplished! Ragnar Relay was a fabulous experience and I got to know my awesome teammates since I didn’t know much about ANY of them prior to agreeing to join the adventure with them. I’m SO glad I pushed outside of my comfort zone to do this and I’m looking forward to Ragnar Relay 2014! You can read more about it here.

In with the New (2014):

  • Remove the rest of the wallpaper in my house and paint – this goal has been on the list since I bought the house in 2006 and only three rooms have been completed.

  • Be more organized at home – I do a great job being organized at work, but need to extend that to my personal life. Along with this comes getting rid of things I don’t need and/or use.

  • Run ‘14 races in 2014

  • Run a sub-30 5k – this will remain on my list until it happens someday.

  • Run a sub-50 Warrior Dash

  • PR in the Half Marathon – I’ve started training and want to break 2:50 (yes, I’m THAT slow!). Mostly, though, I want to not feel like the walking dead when I finish the race.

  • Run 500 miles this year

  • Read 50 books – I’ve been doing a ton of reading in January and really need to make reading a priority because it has always been my favorite way to relax and wind down at the end of the day.

  • Ragnar Relay – Figure out my fueling so I don’t have stomach issues and run faster!

I think I have a good start on several of these goals, but I think I need to check in with them more often to gauge where I’m at throughout the year.

What are your big goals for 2014?

Do you feel you’re off to a good start?

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A Holiday Shred and a Running Steak

As I mentioned before, I’ve been participating in Bobbi McCormick’s Shred challenges over the past few months. The last one I participated in was the Holiday Shred, which ran from November 18th through December 27th.

While the previous Shreds focused more on weight loss, the Holiday Shred focused on weight maintenance through the holidays. Because the focus was different, it allowed for more flexibility in the eating plan so that participants didn’t feel deprived of their favorites during the holidays.

The biggest reason I signed up for this particular challenge, besides good results in the previous Shreds, was the inclusion of 5k and 10k running plans that ended with a Christmas Eve races.

I started the first few weeks with weight loss on the scale without really trying all that hard. The later weeks proved more difficult as the holidays and their signature dishes came along. However, as was the goal of this Shred, I managed to maintain through the holidays. I had no difference in weight between the starting weigh-in and the ending weigh-in. Mission accomplished!

Bobbi followed up the Holiday Shred with the New Year’s Shred, which I chose not to participate in for a few reasons. Primarily, I felt the dietary requirements which included a sugar detox, was too restrictive for me and would only discourage me coming off of the holidays. I need a slower return to normal. Also, I wanted to focus more on running and implementing a half marathon training plan.

However, I will say that I would consider participating in Bobbi’s future challenges and can only say good things about them. I love that they’re flexible enough to fit into any schedule, have great recipes, have fantastic group support via Facebook, and have access to Bobbi via email at any time. Plus, her plans are affordable, which is always a plus!

During the Shred, I was also participating in the Runner’s World Run Streak, which challenges runners to run at least one mile per day from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. To include the run streak in the Holiday Shred plan, I followed the Shred running plan on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and used the daily mile requirement as the warm-up before my workouts on the other days. It worked great.

My running streak started on Thanksgiving Day with a family 5k and ended with 2.75 miles on New Year’s Day. My total mileage during the run streak was 65 miles.

Then, the evening of New Year’s Day, I came down with a cough that got worse and led to a nasty cold. I was out of commission, where workouts and running were concerned, for a week and a half. Happy New Year to me, right?

I’m happy to report that although January didn’t start out strong, I jumped back into my workouts as soon as I was healthy enough and am going strong.

How did your 2014 start out?

Did you participate in the Runner’s World Run Streak or a Holiday Shred?

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Feetures! Sock Review

As I mentioned in this post, I received a complimentary pair of Feetures! socks when I attended a Tuesday night run at Marathon Sports.

All attendees were given a pair of the Merino+ Ultra Light Quarter sock.

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I wore the socks to work the day following the run since I couldn’t wait to try them out. They were super soft and appeared as though they would be warm, so I figured what better way to find out than to wear them to my office, where my toes are often cold.

These socks did not disappoint. I wore them with thin athletic shoes (Skechers GoRun2) and my toes stayed toasty throughout my inactive, desk job day.

A few days later, and after a washing, it was time to try the socks out for a run. I wore them for a three-mile run on the treadmill and was pleased that I had no issues with rubbing, bunching or slipping. They were every bit as comfortable as my usual running socks and although warm, not overly hot.

I have yet to try them for an outdoor run, but I have a feeling they will be perfect for winter running; toasty warm but not too hot.

As I mentioned, I already put them through the wash once and they held up great. I never even considered the fact that they’re a wool blend and therefore could possibly shrink, so I washed them with my other socks – cold wash cycle followed by low heat in the dryer. My pair appeared to have minimal shrinking and stretched to the correct size the next time I wore them. However, I tend to prefer a slightly snug sock, so you may want to follow other washing methods.

These socks retail for $14.99 on the Feetures! website and I would personally find that an acceptable price point for these socks. They are very comfortable, warm, and seem to be of a high quality. Also, I love that they’re marked to differentiate the right and left! I would definitely recommend these socks. They would be a great gift for the runner on your Christmas list!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pair of socks as an attendee of a sponsored running event. I was not asked to review these socks nor was I compensated in any way. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

What are your favorite running socks?

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Snowflakes and Blessings

Last night, I found myself deep in thought while clearing the approximately 6″ of snow from my driveway. The last time I distinctly remember being deep in thought while clearing snow, instead of simply being irritated at the inconvenience was April 18th, 2013.  That night, I posted this to my Facebook page:

I’m done listening to people complain about the weather. As I started to get mad at my snowblower for going on strike, I started thinking. Yes, the snow is inconvenient and can be a lot of work. You know what else is inconvenient? Training months for a marathon you don’t get to finish. But, I can guarantee that the father who lost his son at the Boston Marathon would shovel every one of our driveways to have his son back, his daughter whole and his wife healthy. So today, thank God for your family, your health and the fact that you can shovel your driveway or build a snowman with your kids.

On my way home last night, I was listening to Winter Share on KTIS 98.5, the local Christian radio station. Winter Share is their annual telethon to raise funds to keep the station financially funded throughout the year.

During Winter Share, they had a representative from the Salvation Army talking about their toy store, where parents can choose Christmas gifts for their child(ren) when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. He shared the story of one woman he met a few years ago who had only been able to buy each of her children a candy bar for Christmas the previous year and the happiness she displayed at being able to give her kids a better Christmas that year. He also spoke about the circumstances that often lead families to needing the assistance of the Salvation Army – medical issues, job loss, or death of a family member.

The point here is that the stories I heard on KTIS during my drive home, coupled with remembering thinking about the Boston Marathon victims the last time I cleared snow, I couldn’t help but count my blessings. On a very small, insignificant scale, the snow blower worked wonderfully last night. On a much larger scale, my family is healthy, I have a job, and I am able to afford many luxuries. Heck, I own a home and therefore have a driveway to clear snow from.

All year, I am so very thankful for everything I have, but the holiday season in particular is a time to give back to those who aren’t so blessed. What if the thing I gave, whether it be a toy, a donation to a charity or items to the food shelf, was THE thing that changed someone’s holiday season for the better? 

I know many people take on Acts of Kindness challenges during the holiday season and I’d like to encourage everyone to do just one small thing for a stranger. See what kind of blessing it returns to you, just for fun.

This holiday season, I challenge you to let each snowflake (or each Christmas light for those of you in non-snowy areas) be a reminder of the blessings you have in your life. Take a moment to be thankful and cherish the moment – even if you’re stuck in traffic or shoveling snow in that moment. Let your blessings come through snowflakes.

If you haven’t heard the song Blessings by Laura Story, please take a moment to listen as it’s the inspiration for this post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ

 

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