Jeff Galloway!

I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected as a Galloway Blogger! This is my first blogging program and I am excited to share exclusive content with all of you.

Jeff Galloway

For those of you who don’t know, Jeff Galloway is a runner, coach, author, Olympian and the CEO of Galloway Productions. Jeff is probably best known for his Run Walk Run training method and his partnership with runDisney

I used Jeff’s 10k training plan when training for my first 10k, The Great Race in Pittsburgh in September 2014. At that point, I had not completed a race longer than a 5k and was looking for a little more structure in my training plan. I like that Jeff’s training plans do not include more than 3-4 days of running per week. 

Here are some tips from Coach Jeff Galloway himself:
  1. When paced correctly, running delivers the best attitude boost you can get. Sustain this by pacing yourself gently during the first mile or three. 

    This is something I need to work on – I still start out too fast, especially in races!

  2. A well-paced run enhances vitality for the rest of the day. Start each run at least 30 seconds per mile slower than you will run in the end. 

    Again, I need to work on negative splits!

  3. If you have a Run Walk Run strategy that is right for you on that day, it’s possible to feel good after every run – even the marathon.

    Keep this in mind, Chelsea!

  4. Running is the best stress reliever I’ve found. Research shows that running tends to activate the conscious brain which over-rides the emotional subconscious brain and manages the negative and anxiety hormones during and after the run.
  5. Research shows that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens. A quicker cadence is the mechanical key to faster running.
  6. The finishing of a run that is longer than you’ve run in the last 3 weeks can bestow a sense of achievement that is unique and empowering due to positive brain circuits that are turned on.

    This is definitely true! I ran 5 miles yesterday – the longest distance I’ve run since November 16 and I am filling good about officially starting my half marathon training now!

  7. You can’t run a long run too slowly or take too many walk breaks. You’ll get the same endurance based upon the distance covered. 

    This is something I really need to work on and “Trust the Coach” on. I know the pace I want to run during my first half marathon, so I feel like I should be running closer to that pace all the time – not true! 

Hope you liked this first set of tips from Coach Jeff Galloway! I am excited to share more with from him, and from me too! 

Bed Bugs: A Survival Guide

As of January 27, 2015, I can cross BED BUGS off my travel bucket list (no, they certainly weren’t on my list to begin with). I’m also hoping this means I can cross “Grossest Thing to Ever Happen To Me While Traveling EVER” off the list as well.

In case you were wondering, this is a bed bug:

And this is the stages of life for a bed bug:

If this doesn’t make your skin crawl, we can’t be friends. ICK.

Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, but you generally won’t ever even see them since they like to hide out during the day and feed at night. They live off of human blood, and can live for up to 10 months without feeding (gross!). 

I woke up that morning to find a few insect bites on my arm. The weather in Texas was exceptionally nice that week (80 and sunny – in January!) so I had eaten my lunch outside in the grass the day before, so I thought maybe I got bit by something there. I re-checked the bed for bed bugs (I always do a cursory check when I enter a hotel room) and found *some* evidence, so I snapped a few pictures and sent them to my bed bug and insect infestation expert, my friend Erissa. 

This is the box springs – the mattress was clean. You can also see some evidence of bed bugs on the wall on the bottom right. 

Erissa has had the unfortunate luck of dealing with bed bugs and carpet beetles. She texted back and said it was possible, but not definite, so I didn’t panic. I was scheduled to check out of the hotel that day anyway so I went on to the next stop on my trip.

By that evening, I was COVERED in itchy red bites. I stopped at a Target and bought some Benadryl and some Benadryl cream. I also had to find a laundromat that day to wash ALL of the clothes in my suitcase – how convenient.

Both of these photos were actually taken 8 days later, so it gives you an idea of how bad the bites were. This shows about 1/4 of the bites on my arm. 
The bites were suuuuuper itchy and inflamed and my foot actually swelled at various times from all the inflammation – this caused an unplanned break in my running :-/. I also had them in random places, like the palm of my hand, a fingertip, and four on my FACE (including one on my eyelid – !!!). 

Night time was the worst. Between the paranoia of bed bugs being at another hotel (I stayed at 3 more hotels in the 6 days following the incident) and having nothing to distract me from the itching, it usually took a while to fall asleep. 

Bed bugs: I don’t recommend them. 

What can you to do prevent them?

Always check your hotel room before you bring your luggage in. If you must bring your luggage in, leave it in the bathroom.

Check the mattress on all sides, the box spring, and the walls near the bed. Most bed bugs are usually found within a few feet of the bed in hotel rooms. If you see anything, alert the hotel staff immediately and request a new room. 

Keep your luggage on the provided luggage rack whenever possible.

It is important to realize that bed bugs live on blood, not dirt, so their presence is not limited to “dirty, flea bag motels”. This particular incident happened at a Hampton Inn (and the manager has compensated me and will be addressing the issue with the housekeeping staff so they know what to look for). Bed bugs can happen anywhere from college dorms to five star luxury hotels

What should you do if you do get bit?

Bed bugs are not known to carry human diseases, so the bites are relatively harmless and would only be likely to get infected if they were exposed to bacteria (like if you scratched them open). 

Salt water baths can help the bites heal faster – I found a combination of table salt and Epsom salt to be really effective in eliminating the itching and healing the bites faster. 

I also wiped the bites down with hydrogen peroxide before applying Aveeno lotion and Benadryl cream. I’ve taken Benadryl tablets each day too.

Try not to scratch the bites! This is hard. I was too little when I had the chicken pox to remember them, but I imagine it felt something like this. 

Who do you tell? 

I reported the incident to the hotel directly, and to Hilton (who owns the Hampton Inn brand). I also filed a report with the Texas health department and posted a review on Trip Advisor. I also filed it with the unofficial bed bug registry, but it doesn’t really look like that’s regularly updated anymore. 

Better safe than sorry! Always check and remember they can happen anywhere. If you ever aren’t sure, feel free to send me some pictures as I’m happy to lend my expert advice haha. 

Have any of you ever experienced bed bugs? Have any additional tips or advice to share? Post in the comments! 

Fitness Challenges

My half-marathon training plan doesn’t begin until February 9, so I’m spending the month of January and first part of February working on building my mileage back up (due to not running for most of the month of December due to shin splints) as well as working on incorporating cross-training and other exercises that will make me a better runner. In December, I made the decision to do a couple of 30 day fitness challenges in January. After researching several, I decided on a Squat Circuit Challenge and a Plank Challenge. A few weeks after I had made this commitment to myself, my dear friend Jenn put a call out on her facebook page announcing she was doing a 30 Day Ab Challenge and looking for friends to participate as well. I liked the idea of completing the challenge with friends, so I agreed! I debated replacing one of my other challenges with this, but decided to really push myself and do all three. I downloaded the 30 Day Fitness Challenges app to my phone and that has been really helpful for a couple of reasons – it makes it easy to keep track of my progress, I can’t readily see the next day’s workout (and subsequently freak out about it), and there’s a built-in timer for planks! 

I am 11 days into all three challenges and so far the rest days are my favorites haha. I missed Day 10 due to work schedule, so I did Days 10 and 11 yesterday and that was rough. Today is a rest day for squats and abs, but I think I’m going to save my rest day for a day this weekend when I will again be gone for work.

Has anyone else ever done a 30 day challenge? Which one did you do and what was your experience like? Comment below! 

Last week, Steff, Kelsey, and I had the opportunity to attend a VIP event at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Robinson as part of their partnership with the Pittsburgh Marathon. Brand Specialists were on hand, food was provided, and we all got a coupon for 20% off our purchase that night! I had been needing to add another pair of shoes into my rotation, and figured having a shoe expert like Steff on hand was an excellent opportunity to try some out! She and Kelsey made several awesome suggestions and I settled on a new pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s (and for a great price!). I’ve only had one run in them but so far they are great!!

Steff and I were interviewed for the Pittsburgh Marathon’s promos! 

Who do you run for?

As you know, I am training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon that will take place on Sunday, May 3. It will be my first half marathon and I am also using this occasion as an opportunity to fundraise for an organization very near and dear to my colon heart. 

I am a charity runner for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America – Western PA/West Virginia Chapter. All of the funds I raise will stay directly within the local chapter, meaning it will benefits those suffering from Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis right here in Pittsburgh! To learn more about all the awesome things the CCFA does, click on the picture below! 

My goal is to raise $1000 and thanks to some of my awesome friends and family, I am already 28% of the way towards my goal! I am optimistic that I can surpass this goal by May 3! Who has an extra $10? $15? $25? Every dollar counts! And remember your donation is tax-deductible! Donate today

Hello 2015!!

2015 is already shaping up to a pretty great year! 

I finally selected a half marathon training plan – I’m going with Hal Higdon’s Novice II plan. I like that the plan includes daily mileage as opposed to other plans that just list an amount of time you should run (because there’s a big difference in running 2 miles in 30 minutes and running 3!). My training plan is 12 weeks long and will begin on February 9! This may change, but right now my goal is run the half in under 2.5 hours.

I would also like to run at least 20 races this year. I ran 10 last year and the first one was not until May, so I absolutely think I can do this! I think January’s race will most likely be a virtual one as I will be traveling for 23 days of the month for work (ugh). 

I ran 278.77 miles in 2014, my first year of running. In 2015, I would like to run at least 600 miles! All those half marathon training runs should certainly help contribute to this! 

I will visit at least 3 new states for the first time this year – Delaware, Louisiana, and Oregon!

I also want to be more intentional about actually using vacation time this year – since I didn’t use any vacation days in 2014 :(. Though, to be fair, we are given quite a bit of time off throughout the year that doesn’t count against our vacation time, including time over the holidays). I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to arrange a Walt Disney World trip with friends – who wants to come?! 

Thank to all of the friends and family who have already contributed to my Half Marathon fundraiser for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation! I ended 2014 already at 28% of my goal and I still have 4 months left to fundraise!! 

2014 Heroes!

Barbara Walters can have her most fascinating people. I’ve got some awesome people who have been a great part of 2014.
My first 2014 hero is my friend, Paul, and his awesome family.  The photo below is from his third birthday. His mom Colleen is an amazing person in the fraternity and sorority world, and an even more amazing mom! Paul was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and has already had several surgeries to repair his heart. Paul and his family will spend Christmas far away from their Nashville home as Paul is currently being treated by the wonderful doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. To learn more about sweet Paul and his amazing family, check out their blog! Please keep the Melchiorre family in your prayers this Christmas – if you’d like to help them out, you can do so here. Paul just turned 3, and he is fighting to have a 4th birthday, and a 5th, and all the birthdays every kid deserves!
Paul, with his parents, Dan and Colleen, and his sweet baby sister Georgia
Paul, with his parents, Dan and Colleen, and his sweet baby sister Georgia
My second 2014 hero is my friend, Kylie. Kylie spent part of 2014 paralyzed, and then learning to walk again after a herniated disk in her back burst and she had emergency surgery. 2015 will be another breakout year for her and I am so glad I will get to be there for all her successes!
Kylie and I at a hockey game!
Kylie and I at a hockey game!
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not tell you about my amazing runner friends! 2014 is the year I became a runner, and I never could have dreamed that I would discover a community of such amazing people. They have welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me and pushed me to always do my best! Learn more about their awesomeness here:
Steff: Run Steff Run
Lauren: LNRB for Miles
Nathan: Harvey Monster
Coach Jeff: He should blog too! 
After The Great Race 10k!
After The Great Race 10k!

Four Things

Steff over at Run Steff Run posted a “4 things” post on her blog and I figured I’d jump on that train as well! 

Four names that people call me: 
1. Lauren
2. Hop
3. Red
4. Anna (this is what Dex and Quinn call me. We haven’t figured this one out yet but I’m rolling with it!)

Four jobs I have had:
1. Retail (HELL)
2. New Student Orientation Coordinator (college)
3. Fraternity and Sorority Advisor
4. Teacher 

Four movies I have seen more than once:
1. Miracle
2. Legally Blonde
3. 10 Things I Hate About You
4. The Santa Clause
Four books I’d recommend:
1. I See Rude People (Amy Alkon)
2. The Providence Trilogy (Jamie McGuire – anything by JM really)
3. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins)
4. I’d Like To Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had (Tony Danza)
Four Places I’ve Lived:
1. Plymouth, OH (Birthplace)
2. Cranberry Twp, PA (Growing up and current)
3. Erie, PA (College)
4. Richmond, VA (Previous work)
Four Places I’ve Been:
1. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
2. Liechtenstein (and several other European countries)
3. Montreal, QC
4. Vancouver, BC (2010 Olympics)
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Somewhere in the Carribbean, where it’s warmer than 20F
2. Walt Disney World (my second home)
3. San Antonio, eating shrimp and grits
4. Europe
Four Things I Don’t Eat:
1. Peas
2. Sauerkraut
3. Walnuts (it totally ruins a cookie/dessert when they put these in there!)
4. Lima beans
Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Spaghetti
2. Cheese
3. Peanut butter pie
4. Sourdough bread
Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:
1. Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend, including running my first half marathon!
2. Traveling to New Orleans for work
3. All the running weekends
4. Actually using some of my vacation time
Four Things I’m Saying:
1. Why are you so sucky, Highmark?
2. Something about Dex and Quinn
3. My spring travel schedule for work sucks
4. Deuces
Four People I’m Tagging:
Play along and leave one of your answers in the comments! 

In The Beginning

***Note: I originally started this on WordPress, because I’ve seen so many beautifully designed WordPress sites. However, I made the switch to Blogger because I’m way more familiar with it and am comfortable working in it. Thanks for sticking with me and updating your Feedly/Blogger/However you read blogs these days!!

I’ve had blogs before. Some lasted a few weeks, maybe a few months. Some probably even still exist in the form of a Geocities page somewhere. Remember when LiveJournal was cool? I just looked it up – apparently it’s still a thing. The logo looks pretty much the same as it did in 2003.

Anyway, I can’t make any promises about how long this one will last, or how often I’ll post. This is a project I’ve been thinking about for a while, and keeping a note in my Google Tasks where I add ideas. I figure I finally have enough for a solid beginning.
I know lots of cool people who have blogs and figured, why not?
How did I name this blog? I can’t take credit for LauRUN Says. It was actually the result of a Starbucks barista writing “Laurun” on my cup – what? My name is one of the most popular names ever – how do you not know how to spell it? Anyway, I saw it and thought it was fitting since, well, I run! However, this is not just a running blog.