Friday’s Featured Female – Meet Team Pumped Up Kicks for New Balance #ReachTheBeach NH

Welcome to a Special Edition of Friday’s Featured Female!

Get to know the New Balance #ReachTheBeach Team – Pumped Up Kicks!

Friday's Featured Female, Reach The Beach, New Balance, bloggers

It’s Relay Day!  Team Pumped Up Kicks begins their 200 mile relay journey today at 9am EST.


I’m lucky enough to be running this unique relay race with some great ladies.  Some of these bloggers are friends already, some I’ve admired for a long time and some are new on my radar.  I’m looking forward to getting to know all of these women and I hope you are too!


Pumped Up Kicks – New Balance Reach The Beach 2014 – Van 1:

Runner 1: Jess@RacePaceJess: (25.40 total miles/8.10, 9.30, 8.0):

Jess starts the relay off and she has the most amount of distance to cover.  I’ve been a fan of this lady from when I lived in New York back when she was “Fit Chick In The City”.  Jess is a jack of many trades – Health Coach, Corporate Wellness Specialist, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Director, Spinning Instructor, Run Coach and Lululemon Ambassador.  Here’s to a near marathon distance run, girl!

Runner 2: Carrie Repucci@RunGiaRun (18.7 total miles/8.9, 3.5, 6.30)

Carrie, Reach The Beach, New Balance

Carrie is running representing Gia’s blog RunGiaRun.  I don’t know much about her but I’ve heard she’s fast!  Not too many people could also look that good crossing a finish line.  No UglyRacePics for this girl!

Runner 3: Theodora@PreppyRunner (17.5 total miles/3.9, 5.0, 8.6)

PreppyRunner, Theodora, Reach the Beach, New Balance

I’ve been a long time fan of Theodora and her blog.  She used to write under “Losing Weight In The City” and when I first started reading running and fitness blogs in NYC, her’s was (and still is) a must read.  I’ll never forget seeing Theodora with Tina@CarrotsandCake in front of me at the NY Mini in 2009 or 2010 and feeling like I saw a celebrity.  Yes, I’m a dork.

Theodora writes with honesty about her life and fitness.  Fitness is her life’s work as well.  She works for DailyBurn.

Runner 4: Gia@RunGiaRun:  (15.10 total miles/2.9, 6.5, 5.7)

RunGiaRun, mamalete, Reach The Beach

Gia, another NYC runner, a USATF certified running coach and is a mom of twins.  As if that isn’t enough, Gia is dedicated to helping others find life-work balance.  Gia is also the founder of, showcasing that women that are mothers can be both mom and athlete and inspire others to live healthy and fit lives for themselves and their children.  She is just coming off of a recent surgical procedure…and still committed to running 15 miles.  #Rockstar.

Runner 5: Christine@LoveLifeSurf: (18.8 total miles/5.6, 9.1, 4.1)

LoveLifeSurf, Christine, PumpedUpKicks

Christine and I have been friends for a long, long time.  We were first time parents together in Brooklyn and we found a new friendship through blogging.  I’ve loved watching Christine evolve into the amazing blogger, yoga teacher, runner and mother that she is.  I’m very proud to call this woman my friend!  I’m also hoping she has a yoga sequence set up for us after the race is over!  For more about Christine, see her own special Friday’s Featured Female post right here.

Runner 6: Melissa@FitnessNYC(17.5 total miles/8.6, 5.8, 3.1)


We have 3 Melissas on our team (good choices, New Balance).  I don’t know Melissa personally but I kind of feel like I do.  I believe that she’s friends with Dori@DorisShinyBlog, one of the first blogs on my “Must Read” blogs.  She’s a Melissa and she lives in NYC.  I’m pretty sure that I’m going to like this girl.

Pumped Up Kicks – New Balance Reach The Beach –  Van 2:

Runner 7: Caitlin@CatePlusAte:  (19.1 total miles/7.3, 9.4, 2.4)


Cait lives in Boston and works in the wine industry!  This 25 year old already has her MBA and through her blog talks about food, fitness, fashion, marketing and eating disorder recovery.  Cait is currently training for her first half marathon.   Considering she’s slated for 19 miles, I think she’s going to kill her first 13.1!

Runner 8: Allie@VitaTrain4Life: (19.7 total miles/6.6, 6.4, 6.7)

VitaTrain4Life, Reach The Beach, Pumped Up Kicks, New Balance

Any time I’m given the chance to gush over my friend Allie, I’ll take it.  Not only is Allie an athletic freak of nature but she’s hilarious, heartfelt and is always there to motivate the hell out of anyone who is even remotely interested in fitness.  This mother of twins continues to amaze me with all that she is. Allie has been a Friday’s Featured Female as well.   I’m so excited to having this experience with this fantastic friend of mine!

Runner 9: Marissa@BarefootColorado: (19.0 total miles/ 6.4, 8.5, 4.1)

Marissa, BarefootColo, Pumped Up Kicks, RTBRelay

Marissa runs and she CrossFits.  She’s a lover of all things outdoors (good thing she lives in gorgeous Colorado, right).  Marissa seems very well acquainted with trail running so I hope she can help me out with a thing or two.  Marissa will be my roommate before she’s my teammate so I’ll try to pick up a few tips.  My last relay teammate (Jamie@FitApproach) who ran right before me was definitely good luck so here’s hoping lightning will strike twice.

Runner 10: Me (12.7 total miles/5.1, 3.5, 4.1)


You already know enough about me.  I can say that I’m pretty excited to be running .4 miles less than a half marathon in this relay!

Runner 11: Melissa@SoTheseAreMyThirties: (17.0 total miles/4.8, 8.8, 3.4)

SoTheseAreMyThirties, Pumped Up Kicks, Reach The Beach

Our third Melissa is a Jersey girl who now lives in Austin, TX.  Melissa just finished running Hood To Coast and has run another relay so we’re in good hands with her in our van.  This lady wasn’t always a runner but now she has a running shoe addiction (don’t we all?).  I love that Melissa loves wine, chocolate and being organized.  I’ll have to make sure not to tell Wild Boy that she’s not a Yankees fan though.  I’m pretty sure she’ll get a pass because she is named Melissa, after all.

Runner 12: Lorraine@RunWifeyRun: (12.4 total miles/3.8, 4.5, 4.1)

RunWifeyRun, Reach The Beach, Pumped Up Kicks, New Balance

I’m so glad to know that there’s someone else on the team who is over 40.  I can’t wait to get to know this former music executive who is now a wife, mother and writer (featured in Fitness Magazine, writes for many national magazines and is on the American Cancer Society Blogger Advisor Council).  This powerhouse just ran her 3rd marathon and has discovered destination running.  Sounds like a smart woman to me.


If you’d like to follow Team Pumped Up Kicks via social media during Reach The Beach, you can do so via by following any of the above people’s social media outlets or following the hashtags: #RTBRelay, #runnovation or @newbalance.

A Playlist For My Runway Runaway to Reach The Beach

Yes, the post title is taken from the Duran Duran song “Runway Runaway”.  I’m running away (well flying and then running) to Boston today and since the guys played “Fashion Rocks” last night, I thought the title was appropriate.

Fashion Rocks. Duran Duran

For all of my Duran Duran friends going to see “Unstaged” tonight, have a blast and scream super loud for me.  I’m still sad to be missing this event with all my Duranie brethren.

Duran Duran Unstaged

Image: Duran Duran


It’s been a whirlwind getting ready for Reach The Beach and I hope you’ll follow along on the journey via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  I’ll take any and all words of support where I can get them.


My playlist since SoCal Ragnar needed an update so I’m adding the following dozen songs for my Reach The Beach playlist:

Reach The Beach, Playlist, music

1.  “Runway Runaway” by Duran Duran

2.  “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People

3.  “Pompeii” by Bastille (it’s my 2014 theme song)

4.  “All About That Bass” by Megan Trainor (can’t stop singing this one)

5.  “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (the theme for SoCal Ragnar)

6.  “She” by Green Day

7.  “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC

8.  “Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend

9.  “You Take Me Up” by Thompson Twins

10.  “Human” by The Killers

11.  “Roam” by B-52’s

12.  “Who Needs Sleep” by Barenaked Ladies



Is there a song I NEED to add to my playlist?  Tell me quickly! 



Announcement: I’m Running Reach The Beach New Hampshire!

Big News (that I still can barely believe)….

I will be running the Reach The Beach New Hampshire Relay

with a media team from New Balance* on September 12-13, 2014


Reach The Beach, New Hampshire, Ragnar, Relay Race

I’m ridiculously humbled that New Balance has invited me

to join 11 other bloggers to participate in this amazing experience of fun, fitness and lots and lots of running!

In case you don’t remember the (many) posts about my SoCal Ragnar experience back in April, the Reach The Beach relay is similar: 12 people,in 2 vans for 24+ hours with each runner running 3 legs of distance to cover a total of 200 miles.  I’m ridiculously excited that less than 6 months after my first relay that I’m getting the chance to do it all over again, East Coast style!

Ragnar Relay

After over two years of living in the eternal summer of Los Angeles, I’m exceptionally excited to be running in picturesque New England where there is fall foliage!  Let’s just hope it doesn’t rain!!

I’ll be flying to Boston on Wednesday (now you know the big reason why I’ll be missing Duran Duran Unstaged on the big screen) to meet my teammates from the Pumped Up Kicks team.  Here’s what’s in store:

New Balance, Running, Reach The Beach

  • Thursday, our team will be touring the New Balance factory and facilities to learn more about the New Balance concept of #runnovation – continuous innovation for the athlete in the running community.

  • Friday morning is when the actual running will begin at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire.  We will be running through the day and night (catching sleep while we can).
  • Sometime on Saturday, our team will “Reach The Beach” at Hampton Beach.  We’ll celebrate at the finish line and then it’s time for good byes.
  • Sunday morning, I’ll already be back in LA.  Dead tired but happy, I’m certain.

The team at New Balance have been so very generous – they’ve already sent  some great gear to officially outfit me as Runner #10  to cover my 12.71 miles (Race Legs 10, 22 and 34).  

New Balance, Reach The Beach, #Runnovation

Take a closer look at those shoes!  I’ve taken our team name to heart and made my own very special kind of Pumped Up Kicks with a pair of custom made Momentum Jewelry Foot Notes.

Momentum Jewelry, Pumped Up Kicks, Reach The Beach

It’s going to be a crazy week and I hope you’ll follow along for the ride (on the blog, my person Facebook page,  Twitter and/or Instagram). Stay tuned for more details as things ramp up.  Hint:  There will be a Friday’s Featured Female Edition that you won’t want to miss this week.

Friends, if you have any tips about travel and running/recovering from a relay, have tune recommendations for my playlist, know of any places to eat along the running route in New Hampshire or any other advice, please let me know!

*Disclosure:  The Momentum Foot Notes were purchased with my own money but New Balance has offered me complimentary travel, lodging, race registration and product for the Reach The Beach Relay.  However, all opinions are absolutely my own.  I’m wicked excited (yes, that’s my hat tip to Boston) for this unique experience and can’t wait to share all of the details (good, bad and ugly).

The 3 Biggest Health Pitfalls of A Busy Lifestyle

I don’t know about you but when the lazy long days and late nights or Summer are over and the Back-To-School days are in full effect, life gets busy.  I’m not talking about the “badge of honor” type of busy but instead when you have so many personal and professional obligations that your calendar looks like a rainbow.


I’m not complaining nor am I trying to glorify having many things to do.  However, when you’re an anxious, tightly wound person who thrives on being helpful, it isn’t easy to balance good health and good work.  I’m watching old patterns take shape when health becomes less of a priority and work gets my attention and focus.

If you’re like me and obligation creep makes you forget your health as a priority, maybe this could be a “check yourself before you wreck yourself” moment to prevent the domino effect of the 3 biggest health pitfalls of a busy lifestyle:

1.  Poor Sleep

It’s the first to get the shaft in the health hierarchy.  There are only 24 hours in a day and when you spend many of those hours GSD, there needs to be some down time.  Many people work and then hit the pillow and sleep.  Not me.  I’m an insomniac and no matter how tired I am, I need wind down time and most often it’s with my iPad watching something.


Proper sleep hygiene says that one should go to sleep at the same time, utilize a bed for sleep and sex only and not use electronics in or an hour before bed.  For some reason, I can’t seem to heed this advice.  Even an eye mask, lavender spray and occasional sleep aid doesn’t work well when one crawls into bed after 2am.

Solution: It’s time to take out the calendar and literally begin planning each week, day by day and hour by hour building in a shut-down time and enough time to sleep.   Sleep really is the lynch pin in the pitfall cascade.


2.  Inconsistent Exercise

Because when you don’t sleep, you have no energy to exercise.  Consistent exercise provides more than just strength and cardiovascular benefits, it provides stress relief.  Without exercise many people wouldn’t have the capacity to do their jobs.  Personally, I like myself and the world much better when I exercise.  However, if one doesn’t sleep well or enough it has an effect on muscle repair, brain function, weight management and stamina (in both exercise and being a functional human being).

Having 1-2 days a week with less than 5 hours of sleep interferes with a desire to exercise regularly.  Whether it’s for health maintenance, weight management or training for an event, without sleep, no success in being consistent with exercise will ever be achieved.

Solution:  Schedule exercise in the calendar.  If poor sleep occurs, have a back up (PiYo instead of running for example) but commit to the one of the rules often said by one of my fitness idols, Chris Freytag about never going more than 2 days without exercise.


3.  Mindless Eating

Inadequate sleep and lack of exercise often leads people to not give a crap about what they put in their mouths.  For some, it’s super easy to go for the starchy carbs because of the quick energy it provides (I’m in this camp).  When you’re tired, cranky, there’s very little rational thought about fueling your body with purpose.  Eating for comfort over nourishment is often a goal in a sleep deprived state and fruits, vegetables and whole grains don’t fit the bill.

Zen Proverb Eating

Advanced food preparation would make healthy choices readily available but in my opinion, sleep, getting work done and just about everything else trumps food prep every time.  Often it’s not the food choice or amount of food consumed that plays such a negative role in this pitfall, it’s the guilt or the quick transition to the “Oh, screw it” attitude.  Once guilt comes into the equation, it’s often followed by deliberate avoidance of all mindful thinking.  It’s hard to think when you’re tired and stressed out.

Solution: Shop for a variety of healthy snacks that fit the sweet, savory or starchy carb bill.  I’ve found a few that have definitely helped out in times of sleep deprived crisis but there needs to be more added to the arsenal.  Weekly shopping needs to have healthy comfort foods and lots of them.


What trips you up from living more healthfully?   What advice has helped?

IDEAWorld BlogFest Recap

Finally, it’s the #IDEAWorld BlogFest Recap.  It’s long so get comfortable.

IdeaWorld Fitness Blogfest, #Blogfest, @SweatPink


There are a lot of fitness and blogging conferences and from each one you may walk away with education, networking and brand connections –  there are the  friends you make and the cards you take (and give) as you try to make sense of all the information you come home with.

It’s hard not to want to be a better blogger, writer and business person while being more motivated, efficient and invested as a blogger and fitness enthusiast after returning from a conference.  It’s overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  It is fun to take that conference inspiration and translate it into action.


#BlogFest was pretty amazing and here’s why in thevalentineRD signature style:


B – Bloggers

When you get 140 health and fitness bloggers together there’s fun to be had whether it’s reconnecting with old friends or making new ones (even if you have to stare at their badge to figure out who the person with the regular sized face actually is).

There are bloggers who just know you’re going to have fun with like Brian@Pavement Runner (Did you know his real name?  I had to ask when I met him last year too) , smiley Bobbi@NHerShoes and of course, the 10 Women You Need To Meet At BlogFest which included some of these crazy girls:


Then you realize that there are some amazing people you didn’t know before like Kasey@Powercakes, Lyndsay@The Balanced Brunette and NeverEverBeenSkinny or the ones you didn’t meet but someone else lets you know about like 9 Bloggers To Read via Tiffany@Running Hutch (and the many others I didn’t get to know but will try).


L – Learning

Besides having fun with new and old friends, you definitely want to get some education out of a conference, right?  I didn’t attend the IDEAWorld sessions geared toward personal trainers and fitness instructors (but maybe next year – I’ve always been tempted to get a fitness certification of some sort) but I did attend the BlogFest education sessions.


Alyse and Jamie from Fit Approach announcing sessions

BlogFest sessions were geared toward using improving not only the design of your blog but to improve your blog as a brand and business.

  • Meal Prepping and How To Blog About It was disappointing.  While Laura Lynn Klein was personable and showed some gorgeous pictures of food, she lost credibility with me when she mispronounced and incorrectly spelled the name of one of the most well known chefs in America as “Julia Childs” and not Julia Child.
  • How To Approach Brands and Sell Yourself  was a panel with Whitney English, Tracy Hollywood of FleishmanHillard (yes, her real name) and Kelly Olexa brought up good points about how to connect with brands you’re passionate about,  not selling yourself short but to also be creative and flexible with a pitch, what to deliver and payment.
  • Blog Design Tips and Tricks on a Budget by Rita Barry was very comprehensive and her ability to help writers communicate with designers about their ideas for look and feel was exceptional.
  • Business Of Blogging with trademark attorney Ashley Long, CPA and Health Coach Jessica Mishra and Katy Widrick helped bloggers think about liability, finances and media kits.  Blogs take brain power, money, time and effort, that work needs to be professional, organized and ready to produce if/when you make the brand connection of your dreams.
  • Bloggers Tell All with Julie@PeanutButterFingers, Gina@Fitnessista and Monica@RunEatRepeat was eye-opening.  These 3 all blog full time (which means often posting twice a day!) and they were very open about how getting paid by brands and agencies has changed from page views to CPM’s and why there has been an increase in sponsored posts.  I was very impressed by Julie – she makes a great effort to unplug from social media (leaves her phone at home on dates with her husband and doesn’t even bring the phone into her bedroom at night) and the idea that if/when she has a child she’s not sure how (or if) she’ll allow the child(ten) to be part of her social media effort.


*Side note: There are so many well known health and fitness bloggers that are pregnant right now and I’m curious to see how the next wave of parents incorporate their child into their blog.


O – OMG! Moments

(there were quite a few)

  • Hearing from Lorna Jane Clarkson at the BlogFest kick-off  Not only did Lorna Jane talk to the group about her company philosophy of Move Nourish Believe, she talked about how she got started as a designer in Australia 25 years ago.  Her stores are popping up all over the US and the activewear is adorable.  As someone born on Valentine’s Day, it made me smile to learn that there’s a heart in every single Lorna Jane garment to symbolize that the design was made with love.
Lorna Jane

Me with Lorna Jane Clarkson of Lorna Jane.


  • If you didn’t cry during the IDEAWorld Opening Ceremonies, you must have been dead inside: hearing about the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Augie Nieto and the story of #AugiesQuest (against ALS) was tragic but hopeful, seeing Elaine LaLanne do full body push-ups on stage (she’s 88 years old) and listening to long distance swimmer Diana Nyad talk about her life and her determination to be the first person to make the swim from Florida to Cuba were all unbelievable.  It was an amazing reminder about the physical and emotional strength of humans and the human spirit.

IDEA Opening Ceremonies – the Filharmonic at the opening, Augie Nieto, Elaine LaLanne doing pushups and Diana Nyad playing the trumpet.


  • Even before hearing the story of Augie Nieto and Augie’s Quest, a bunch of us decided to do the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. We did it.  It was cold and for a good cause.



Image: MelissyK Instagram


  • Getting the chance to do a PiYo class led by the woman who invented it, Chalene Johnson was pretty epic.  You’d never guess that she just had 2 teeth pulled before instructing our class.  She worked us hard while making jokes and smiled the entire time.  She also was a great sport and took a bunch of pictures.
PiYo, chalene johnson

Image: PavementRunner


  • Learning about turning your blog into a money making brand with Cassey@Blogilates was educational.  Much like when I heard Cassey speak at FitBlogLA, she still gave the passionate message about being true to who you are and connecting with your audience but this time there were more business lessons like invest in a product, Facebook isn’t always your friend (she promoted a post on Facebook once and it was detrimental to her Facebook Page), use licensed music and like Martha Stewart, she doesn’t sleep much!  Cassey and her Blogilates and Pop Pilates brand is proof that passion + hard work pays.


  • The most surprising OMG moment of the conference was listening to the Keynote by Jillian Michaels.  Who knew she was so humble, funny, self-depricating and honest.  She talked about being worthy (“Why Not Me?), her early weight struggles, failure, media perception and even her philosophy on teaching healthy eating to her children.
Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels (PS – She likes these Stella McCartney leggings – see EFC link below).


I went into the Keynote with a negative attitude about Jillian Michaels due to the Evolution Fitness Conference experience with her BodyShred class but now I’m a total convert.  I hope Jillian and her people get her in front of more people who can talk about her to prove that the perception that most people have of her is incorrect.


G – Glowing Goodness

More than just the glow of sweat, there was a glow of goodness that radiated at this conference.  Maybe it’s hokey but when a group of people who have passion for health and fitness are in a room together, there’s a feeling of hope, motivation, inspiration, drive.  There’s an overwhelming desire to help oneself and others to reach their true potential.


People are health and fitness professionals (and bloggers) because there is something more to being committed to an active lifestyle than just teaching or taking a class, working out or working at a gym or writing about one’s experiences in the quest or upkeep of a healthy lifestyle.  The “something more” that each person individually feels when their work is their passion might be that glowing goodness feeling.  For me, being at BlogFest made me exceptionally proud to be part of the health and fitness community as a blogger and as a Registered Dietitian.


F – Fitness

You can’t have a fitness conference without some exercise….

Day One Fitness

  • Fitness started early with a 6am Downtown Disney Fun Run.  Due to my ankle sprain from my Duran Duran 10K the week before, I decided to support but not run.  I had coffee with Alyse and Bianca from Fit Approach and Pavement Runner’s bag.

Pavement Runner, Chocolate Milk

  • Right after the run was some Yoga with Stephanie Ring.  I was late but the stretches felt good after laying low for a few days (ankle again).
BlogFest, Yoga

Down Dogs for days


  • Day One Fitness ended with a PiYo workout with Chalene Johnson.  This hybrid of Pilates and Yoga was made for those who need training for core strength and flexibility (me!).  As a Duran Duran super fan girl, I had a deep appreciation for seeing Katy Widrick geek out a bit when Chalene commented on her form during class (it’s something I would totally do).


Day Two Fitness


  • Yoga with Tara Stiles was odd.  First, I forgot how shockingly thin Tara Stiles is.  I took a class with her at her NYC yoga studio a few years ago and remember remarking to my husband how emaciated her appearance was even then.  I know she was a model and is likely naturally thin but I was not the only one in the room who audibly gasped when seeing her in person.

Tara Stiles Yoga


  • Despite how uncomfortable I was with what Tara Stiles looked like, I was even more uncomfortable in her yoga class.  The class had poor flow but seemed to be encouraging students to do as many poses as possible at great speed and just wasn’t for me.  It wasn’t very yogic but I left the class about halfway through.  I do remember enjoying Strala Yoga in NYC but this class didn’t do it for me.


E – Empowerment and Being Enough



Believing and having faith in yourself as a person, a blogger, an athlete and a business person was a theme throughout BlogFest.  I think the message of “being enough” came through clearest when listening to Jillian Michaels during her Keynote.  The inspiration to be self empowered and achieve your own definition of success and happiness was impactful.


S – Swag

Swag is a perk of every conference but fitness and blogging conferences are like the motherlode. BlogFest attendees were given amazing gifts from Lorna Jane, Reebok, Under Armour, SubwayMerrithew Health & Fitness, Propel and Manitoba Harvest.  There are a few things I can’t wait to try out and another giveaway may be in order!


T – Transformation

From panelists and brand stories (like Reebok and their BOKS program for children and Under Armour’s I WILL WHAT I WANT) to the Lightning Round speakers, the message of life changing effects of a healthy life were clear.




The messages of transformation that were clear at BlogFest were much more than the superficial transformation of the physical body through fitness.  Every person involved in health and fitness can tell you that there is no real change within a person without an effect on the mind, body and soul.  These transformations weren’t all extraordinary.

In fact, the most powerful transformations were those that were accessible  – showing that health and fitness efforts along with drive and determination, can and will bring forth a positive change in a realm encompassing more than just a person’s athletic stamina.


Overall, that’s my interpretation of BlogFest.  This conference reaffirmed my commitment to health and fitness efforts not only for myself and my family but in my profession.  This was a conference i’d definitely pay for again but maybe next year I’ll come home with a fitness certification!


Do you have a fitness certification?  If so, which one do you have and why did you choose that one?