June 30, 2015

The Importance of Eye Protection & Fitness

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Vision Council. I received complimentary product from The Vision Council in exchange for attending their webinar and raising awareness of eye health.  

I like to think of myself as someone who tries to be healthy in all aspects of my life. As a fair-skinned gal, I've always had to watch myself in the sun and have had regular dermatologist visits since I was 11 after finding some abnormal moles on my skin.  Especially in recent years, I've become more vigilant about applying sunscreen and protecting myself in the sun. Now that it's summer, I've been doing a pretty good job of slathering on some sunscreen on my body as well as my face before running outside. 

However I've been less thoughtful about protecting my eyes, not just my skin from UV damage.  I love wearing sunglasses and always buy a few cheap, fun pairs to wear when the weather warms up but infrequently consider wearing them as protection instead of comfort. I usually just rely on the UV protection in my contact lenses. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a webinar from The Vision Council to raise awareness about the harmful effects of UV exposure and eye health led by Dr. Justin Bazan.  While is a sponsored post, I truly think this information is important to share and important to know. 

While most people like me think about comfort, style, and affordability when it comes to choosing sunglasses, we also should be mindful of UV protection they offer. Not all shades have UV protection or are as reliable as advertised (they usually have a little sticker saying they are UV protective) so Dr. Bazan suggested bringing them to your optometrist (eye doctor) to be checked for UVA/UVB protection if you are unsure. 

Rocking some cheapie sunglasses on my run
While maybe you are more likely to grab a pair of shades or a hat in the summer time when the sun is stronger, Dr. Bazan stressed the importance of UV protection year round. 

2 out of 3 Americans aren't wearing sunglasses when it is cloudy or rainy.

 Sunglasses not only are like sunblock for your eyes when it's sunny, but also offer UV protection when it is cloudy or darker out. I know I am far less likely to reach for my sunglasses when it isn't bright out. Ice and water are major reflectors of UV rays which is just as harmful whether it's warm or cold out. 


Besides short term effects such as irritation & redness, there are serious long-term effects of UV-related eye damage such as cataracts, premature aging of the skin around the eyes, and macular degeneration. Yikes!

The biggest surprise from the webinar was the most dangerous times of UV levels. I have it drilled in my head that midday around noon was the most dangerous time. According the research from The Vision Council, eyes receive 2x the amount of UV radiation during the early morning  and late afternoon as it does during the midday, as seen in the graphic above.  

Warmer weather means everyone is spending time outside as well as working out and running outdoors so UV protection including for your eyes is key! The graphic below shoes where Americans are wearing sunglasses. I was surprised to learn that 70% of fitness enthusiasts such as runners & cyclists are not wearing sunglasses when they are running or biking outside! 

We can eat chia seeds, take care of our bodies, and wear all sorts of gear but don't wear our sunglasses outside?!

I hope you'll think twice before heading out the door, I know I will! As someone with blue eyes, I may be more susceptible to UV damage because of the decreased melanin I have. 

Last Saturday 6/27 was National Sunglasses Day so you might have seen some information about eye health floating around. I'm happy to be rocking the new Optic Nerve polarized shades that the Vision Council sent me, so I know that my eyes will be UV protected on my summer runs.  

Be sure to wear your favorite pair of sunglasses frequently (or treat yourself to a new pair that offers UV protection!) this summer and all year round!

Do you wear sunglasses when working out outdoors? Do you have a favorite pair of sunglasses? 

This post was linked up with Wild Workout Wednesdays and Tip Tuesday

June 29, 2015

2015 Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race Recap

Disclosure: As a volunteer Charm City Run training group coach I received a complimentary entry to this race. I had already planned on registering before this opportunity. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I love the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K in Baltimore. You can read my recap from the 2013 BWC because I forgot to recap last year's race (it'll be a throwback recap one of these days when I finish the draft!) 

This year was the race's 40th year and is the largest all-women's 5K in the Mid-Atlantic region. I love this race because it's all about girl power, benefits Cancerve which provides direct support to female cancer patients and their families in Maryland, and is truly a fun, family event. They have many nice little touches including a kids fun run after the 5K. 



I had a higher mileage week because it was my first real deal week of following my marathon training schedule. I also raced the November Project Sunrise 6K on Wednesday in 21:10 so my legs already had some speedwork done. For the first time, my main reason for showing up on Sunday was because I had been a volunteer coach for the Patterson Park BWC 5K training group. I was got there right before the race started, but I was excited to hang in the training VIP tent for a bit and see everyone after the race. 

After a really dreary, wet Saturday it was lovely to get down to the Inner Harbor and find that it was cooler and sunny. I had spent all of Saturday on the couch feeling knocked out by allergies or a summer cold so getting some fresh air felt great. 

I love this view! 
I was running a little late so I popped down to Rash Field 15 minutes before the race started just as Brick Bodies was leading a pre-race warm-up.  This event is so big, and I loved seeing some many lady runners and their families. 


I dropped my stuff off at the VIP training tent and grabbed some water before heading over to the start. They had more clearly marked pace markers at the start which helped keep it a little more organized. I even ended up walking right over to the area where my friend happened to be lined up! 

Clouds gave way to sun! {photo courtesy of Charm City Run}


Going into the race I knew I wanted to stay around 7:00 minute miles. The weather was cooler, and my legs weren't feeling too bad minus some tightness at the beginning. I'm familiar with the course and decided to give it a go.  The only thing I regretted was forgetting my sunglasses because it was way sunnier than I expected. I ran my first mile in  7:12 which is not bad because there's a bit of a hill and I always have trouble pacing myself the first mile of a 5K. I stayed consistent and ran the second mile in 7:13 and picked a few ladies to try to stay with to keep me on pace. 

Once I got into mile 2 I wanted to pick it up a little bit. I saw a friend around mile 2.5 who said I looked really smooth and comfortable which is great to hear because with all the thoughts in my head I always feel like I probably look tired and pained when I'm running fast! I pushed it a little harder and focused on passing some people and coming around the harbor curve faster. I finished mile 3 in 6:56 and pushed it to the finish. 

I'm in the pink shirt coming down the home stretch! {photo courtesy of Charm City Run}

I ended up coming 8th in my division, 25th overall with a time of 22:02, average pace 7:06 min/mi. Not bad!  It's slower than I ran this race the past two years, but I really just wanted  to run a faster, comfortable race and knew after Wednesday's Sunrise 6K that I probably  wouldn't be moving as fast.  It was pretty warm by the end of the race. 


After getting my medal, cold towel, and red rose at the finish, I quickly grabbed some water, found my friend, and made a B-line for the watermelon. Besides just freaking loving watermelon, it is so refreshing after a warm run.

Okay so I snapped this afterwards and the watermelon was almost gone!

They had lots of food for training group members at the VIP tent so I went there and grabbed a cinnamon bagel, a cup of coffee and some more fruit. I quickly had to stop at the port-a-pot and was really surprised to find tables set up outside of them with hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products, bug spray, and sunscreen. What a great idea and lovely touch to the race! 


The best part of the whole morning? Talking to the ladies in the training groups and seeing how awesome everyone did.  Our training group attendance dwindled a bit towards then end but having two of the ladies in my beginners runners group come up to me and thank me for motivating & encouraging them made all of my time volunteering with the training worth it. I loved hearing how they both rocked their races and had a great time! 

I'm trying to spread the running love, one person at a time.



I think this is a really great event that all the female runners in Baltimore should support! It's well-organized and really caters to women.  I think the course is really nice and not too challenging. The BWC always has a really pretty medal, and the shirts keep getting better and better. Charm City Run also does a great job with the race support, timing, and training groups.  


I'd love to give a shout-out to Lily Trotters. They sent me a pair of their USA-made compression socks to try out, and I've worn them a couple of times before the race. I love the adorable polka dot pattern and the pink ruffle at the top. They have graduated compression, but aren't tight enough that they are uncomfortable. They are a lot softer and thinned than other brands which made for a perfect mix of practicality and comfort! 

I literally put them back on after I showered and stretched out to help with recovery after tacking on extra miles later in the afternoon to make up my long run mileage.  I also like that they didn't get itchy after wearing them all day which I find with some other brands.  They have a Kickstarter campaign starting July 14th so be sure to check them out! I'll definitely be keeping them in my sock rotation from now on. 


This post was linked up with Weekend Snapshots, MIMM,Weekend Update, and Race Recap Link-Up {10}.  

Have you ever coached a training group? Did you race this weekend? What's is your favorite new pair of gear? 

June 26, 2015

5 Friday Favorites 6/26/15: Marathon Training, Vegas, and Love for All!

Yay for Friday. I'm super pumped to be over with a week that was stressful but also had some good surprises. It looks like there is some more rain and thunderstorms this weekend so hopefully that means post-long run naps, eating, and Netflix. 
Not like that isn't what I usually do after long runs anyways...

5 Friday Favorites

1. Marathon Training

Grab your own Momentum athletic jewelry and save 10% with my link: http://www.designsthatmoveyou.com/friend/lauren 

This week is technically week two of #breathedeeplyandrunchi {again} Chicago Marathon 2015 training.  I am still tweaking my plan and figuring out what shoes I want to train in but managed to get a nice 10 mile run in and some speedwork last week along with lots of running this week. I'm not really feeling super pumped yet, but I'm hoping once I get everything together  I'll be more excited.  

I'll do a big post about my training next week and be sure to have bi-weekly updates until race day. 

2. SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling

If you haven't heard, the Supreme Court ruled today that gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states. This makes my heart so happy because we need #equalityforall in this country. I remember going to a rainy Prop8 protest in DC 6 years ago, so it's about time. 


3. gf Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins from HellotoFit

I had a couple zucchini in the fridge about to go bad and about 1000 muffin recipes pinned on Pinterest so I decided to whip up a batch last Sunday. I made these chocolate muffins from Jess's blog, and they turned out to be awesome.  I didn't even have any chocolate chips to add which is a travesty. Don't worry, you can't even taste the shredded zucchini hidden in the muffin! I have been eating them before or after my workouts as a quick bite of fuel or a snack while I'm making food. 

4. Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Medals

I'm already pumped to be running Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas in November since it's a bucket list race, will be my first visit to Sin City, and is a trip for a friend's birthday all rolled into one. I was even more excited when I saw the crazy awesome medal preview yesterday. 


It may just become the coolest medal in my collection! 

Register and run the #stripatnight with me! 
For the Rock 'n' Roll races, remember you can use my code RUNWITHLAUREN to save $15 off any half or full marathon in 2015 (sorry Vegas is excluded!). 

5. Jersey blueberries

I always get excited when New Jersey farmed blueberries are in season. I would drive past the huge blueberry farms on my way to the beach all the time when I lived there or when I'm visiting.  I also love knowing how fresh the fruit is and how close it's coming from. I found a deal at a local grocery store for 3 pints for $5 and snagged a bunch.  I think I've already eaten 2 pints in 3 days so sorry, no sharing! 

I'm also linking up with ClareJill,Katie,DC Trifecta and Heather

What is one of your favorites from the week? Do you have a favorite summer grocery find? 

June 24, 2015

Summer Survival Kit {Ready for Action with Whole Foods Markets}

Disclosure: I was offered a giftcard & complimentary Ready for Action bag for mentioning this promotion by Whole Foods Market Harbor East.  As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I really love samples and trial sizes. No I don't want to spend X number of dollars on a product that I've never tried before. What if I don't like it?! That's why I love places like Sephora and all those box subscriptions out there. I will take free samples anywhere, and I make little kits with all of them. I have a little bag packed that I can move from backpacks to suitcases for overnight trips. I have a little first-aid kit in my car. I have a little bag of shampoo and makeup samples in my gym bag.  

I was super excited to get my hands on Whole Foods Markets' Ready for Action summer survival kits from my local store, Whole Foods Harbor East. 

It makes perfect sense that I'd need a summer survival kit. Here is what I need to survive the summer (and all this crazy humidity we've been having that comes along with it!)


Okay, so maybe I can't fit all that in one bag. Oops. 

Here's what Whole Foods has included in their summer survival kits for an active summer: 

You get some full size products which is awesome, and the whole bag is valued at $50.


 I love that Nuun Active Lemon-Lime is included! Of course that is already one of my stand-by hydration flavors and is great mixed with some lemonade in the summer #teamnuun.

I also was really excited to see an option for a natural sunscreen because I have been trying to buy more natural brands and haven't found one I liked yet.


 I found the Goddess Garden Organic sunscreen to be a lot thicker than I was used to so it took a lot of rubbing in. It did the job and was gentle on my face and shoulders.  

I also really liked having the vanilla chai Amazing Grass protein shake after a run blended with some cashew milk, ice,cinnamon and a frozen banana. 

The bag itself is not only super cute but also is hand-printed by RIJI Green, a company committed to ending human trafficking!


You can grab one of these bags for only $12 at your local Whole Foods Market U.S. Store on Saturday, June 27 at 10 AM.  I would't wait much longer past then because supplies are limited!

What is something on your summer survival list? 

June 21, 2015

How to Afford More than Ramen When Going Back to Grad School

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with College Ave Student Loans and Her Campus Media. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm keeping it real and talking money today. In 2 months I'll be going back to graduate school for my Master's in Occupational Therapy.  Yes, I made the cut!, woop woop. I'm really excited about it all, but lately I've just been a bit stressed filling out tons and tons of paperwork.  

Going back to school while I'm still paying off undergraduate student loans is pretty daunting. 81% of students entering college understand the cost of education but still 80% of students don't have a plan to pay off student loan debt after graduation, which I understand. When I was an undergrad my dad cosigned my loans and helped me out with the paperwork.  Now the day of the month when both my rent and student loans come out of my paycheck is so sad, haha. 

Being on my own financially now has involved lots of time spent learning about loans. I  because amassing debt is scary. I wasn't completely sure how financial aid worked for graduate school, and the different types of loans and interest rates can be really confusing. 

Luckily my school has been really helpful and federal financial aid was enough. If not I was going to have to look for private loans, which can be really intimidating. One option to simplify loans is College Ave, an online marketplace with competitive rates, repayment options, and a mobile-friendly application that can give you a loan decision in less than three minutes.  You can use their tools to see if you pre-qualify and what your rates would be before you even apply for a loan. They have coverage for up to 100% of school-certified expenses with only a minimum loan amount of $2,000. 

Even though I didn't need their services, I really liked playing around on their loan calculator to clarify the total cost over the life of a loan and ways to save money by making payments during school or in fewer years afterwards.  

I need to be really conscious about my spending and managing my debt. It's amazing how in a blink of an eye you go from graduating college to being close to 30 and realizing you need to start creating actual savings accounts and retirement plans.  Yikes. 

Here's what I have been doing right now to try to save a few dollars. 

Because honestly I'm not 18 anymore and living off of pizza, mac and cheese, and ramen doesn't cut it! 


1. Budget 

It's really obvious, yet it's so easy to spend money when you are just swiping a credit card or online shopping.  I've used sites like Mint.com in the past, but now just make a rough pen and paper estimate for amounts to spend on specific categories each month.  I've got more responsibility now that I'm 27 and not 18, so I make sure my bills & school expenses are taken care of before anything else. 

2. Use Cash 

Recently, I've started taking out cash for the week for minor purchases like coffees or lunches because it's easier for me to stick to my budget. Also something about purchasing with physical cash makes me think twice about my spending. 

3. Discounts

Besides always asking if there are student discounts with my student ID,  I am always am on the lookout for coupons & discounts. Yep, I'm that girl in the grocery store flipping through her coupon folder as she shops. I always check for coupons on RetailMeNot and use Ebates for online shopping .  

Also my favorite place to buy textbooks online is BigWords. I found it halfway through my college and have used it ever since. You can see prices from online sellers and book rentals all in one place.  

4. Buy Only What You Need 

This one can be hard sometimes! I definitely need to prioritize my purchases, which means not being able to do each and every thing that sounds fun.  With more limited work hours and less income this becomes especially important. That means being conscious with my spending habits like only buying food I'll eat. More sticking to my shopping lists and less Whole Foods yolo purchases. 

5. Reused & Recycled

Besides always trying to be used textbooks and supplies I need for school, it's amazing what you can buy used.  People have so many things that there is always bound to be someone getting rid of just you need on Craiglist, eBay or at Goodwill.  I buy & sell clothes on consignment from apps like Poshmark (see my closet here) or places like Plato's Closet.  

If you are going back to school or are in school too, check out the #CollegeGoals Instagram scholarship challenge. Now through June 30, share your college goals for a chance to win prizes including a $5,000 scholarship and $50 Chegg textbook credits.  
Because who couldn't use a little extra money for school? 

What's your favorite tip for saving money? How did you save money in school? 

This was linked up with Weekend Snapshots.

June 19, 2015

5 Friday Favorites 6/19/15 feat. Magazines & Ice Cream

I'm so happy it's Friday as always. I know we're supposed to get some thunderstorms this weekend (boo), but I'll have my first official marathon training run tomorrow. I still am working on what exact plan I'm going to follow so I'll talk more about that once I've got it all figured out.  Other than that I've planned to spend time outside, hit up the FIT+ festival in Harbor East on Saturday, and go to the farmer's market.  

5 Friday Favorites

1. Women's Running Magazine Insta-Runners

In December I think I grabbed a subscription to Women's Running Magazine and have been a big fan ever since. Lots of really informative articles and a nice mix of information & fun. You can imagine my surprise when I opened up July's issue and saw MY Instagram photo sitting right there on the page. I literally screamed and my boyfriend thought something was seriously wrong. Nope, just run-nerding it out. 


I had gotten a comment on the photo to email it to the WR team but never heard anything after that. Even though they mis-spelled my username wrong, it's still awesome to see my face in the Insta-Runners section. 

2. Ice Cream Dates


So far I've had ice cream three times in a row this week, whoops. It's not my fault it's delicious. I started off Monday finally catching up with Sarah outside of working out and grabbing some Kilwin's ice cream for the first time in forever. I had a delicious caramel ripple cone and of course my staple, rainbow jimmies. 

3. Free Race Photos

Only smiling because I'm finished and can go grab some free wine

I really like the two free race photos I found from the ZOOMA Women's Race in Annapolis a few weeks ago.  I look happy and pretty great in both, minus the claw hand in my finish line photo above. 

 Last weekend's ODDyssey Half Marathon also had free race photos which I haven't looked at yet. I hope I don't look as awful as I feel-I remember trying to look happy when I saw cameras! For the price of registration, more races need to offer free photos! 

4. Brandon Flowers The Desired Effect album

I'm a Brandon Flowers fanatic-I just love him. My love started way back in high school when I first heard The Killers single Somebody Told Me for the first time. The Killers are probably the band I've seen live the most! Brandon Flowers's voice has only gotten better and his new album is fabulous. Great songwriting and story-telling with a touch of an 80s vibe. 

The song Lonely Town in particular has been on repeat ALL week. 

5. Ultimate Foam Rolling Guide for Runners from Run to the Finish


One of my favorite recent pins and blogs posts I've read is Amanda's Foam Rolling Guide. I love my foam roller, although I haven't been giving it much love at all lately. When I first started hearing about foam rolling and bought one I didn't really know what to do or how long to use it for. This article talks about what areas to roll, what types of foam rollers there are, and how to avoid over rolling. You only need 20-30 seconds per area! 

I'm also linking up with ClareJill,Katie,DC Trifecta and Heather

What song are you playing on repeat this week? Do you foam roll? 

June 17, 2015

Get Rid of the Workout Gear Stink {HEX Performance Detergent Review & Giveaway}

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by HEX Performance Products. I was provided complimentary product for review as well as compensation. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This time of the year when the weather starts to get hot, humid, and sticky is when I particularly lament the fact that I do not have a washer/dryer right in my apartment building. My workout clothes get drenched with sweat so everything is usually worn once and tossed in the hamper. I can fill a hamper of stinky, sweaty clothes in my bedroom in record time. 
Oh yes, it smells fabulous if I let it sit any longer than week. 

While I have lots of workout clothes all in wicking & performance materials, I'm honestly bad about taking care of them. For the price tag of some of the performance clothes and gear I really should be taking better care of them. Everything gets thrown in the washer with my other wash and treated the same with my usual detergents and spin cycles. 

 I've been consciously trying to take better care of things and get rid of older items. I've realized that yes, things do lose some of the wicking and odor control after a while and that product care from brands such as Under Armour and Lululemon should maybe be followed.  

When I was asked to try out HEX Performance products, it seemed to be perfect timing. With marathon training starting next week I'll be constantly washing running shorts, tops,headbands and socks.

 Sometimes I'll wash apparel, especially shirts and armbands, that I've had for a while and notice that kind of funky smell just lingers no matter how well I wash it (spoiler: these products get rid of it, while saying gentle on the fabric and skin!) 


HEX Performance products are the first and only system specifically designed to clean and protect today's performance gear and apparel and was created by major league lacrosse player, Drew Westervelt.  I was sent the Power+ Laundry Detergent (48 oz. for $15.99 retail) and the Enhance+ Performance Booster (48 oz. for $13.99 retail).  


HEX Performance created this new formula of detergent to get rid of that sweaty odor that lingers in gear, no matter how many times you wash it.  Besides just cleaning, their system ensures performance apparel is protected with odor-fighting technology to protect against odors typically associated with bacteria (from all that sweat!) and restore fabric wickability. 

I like that they are free of dyes, perfumes, and optical brighteners. The Power+ Laundry Detergent is fragrance free so they created the Enhance+ Performance Booster in two scents to use with the detergent. It adds a fresh fragrance without compromising the fabric's performance. The smell of fresh laundry makes me happy! 

Drenched, smelly race clothes went immediately into the washer

This past weekend I even did a post-race load of sweaty, smelly running clothes and gear at my parents' house, and it took care of the odor and dirt no problem. It even made my tank top that was drenched in sweat from running for almost two hours in 81 degrees at 60% humidity smell fresh!


I was skeptical about having a separate detergent for my performance gear, but I really like the product and the idea behind it.

Getting more life out of my gear and not dealing with the smelly funk makes the price tag and extra care worth it. 

I hope with continued use on my gear and clothes, I'll get rid of that funkiness that sticks around for good and increase the lifespan of my gear! I'm happy to have found out about this product just in time to combat all that summer sweat. 

You can find HEX products in all Wegmans stores, other retailers near you , and online.  

Grab a coupon for their products here or enter below to win a coupon for a free HEX Performance product.
*Update: The giveaway intially was for coupons but due to some concerns, the 10 winners will now directly be sent a HEX product.

See Rafflecopter below to enter and see details-giveaway ends 6/24/15 at 12:00 AM. 

June 15, 2015

My Weekend-The Good, The Bad, The Ugly {MIMM}

This weekend was a mixed bag. I was kind of feeling in a funk from being in a weird mood, having a to-do list where 2 things are added every time I cross one thing off, and the weather. Today I'm ready to get things organized and have a fabulous week. 

Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly recap from the weekend.  I'm one of those people who likes to hear the good news last so we'll follow that pattern-luckily there were many marvelous parts!

The ugly: 

My race on Sunday was maybe my worst ever and some of the worst I've ever felt. More on that when my recap goes up. 

The humidity was also really ugly this weekend. 

The bad: 

Working late on a Friday. Seriously should be illegal!
That it's already Monday. 

Signing up to take out more student loans. (::sad trombone sound plays::)

That my stomach has been feeling crappy from all the food I gorged on this weekend. #carbcity

That I didn't get to spend more time with my family this weekend. 

Going to bed super late on Friday after one or four glasses of wine which lead to a lazy, foggy Saturday morning.

That I haven't decided on a marathon training plan yet and my training starts this weekend. Oops. 

The good: 

Wine with neighbors on a Friday night. 

Iced coffee in the summer. 

Philly soft pretzels and a cold beer in the shade after aforementioned crappy race. 


Homemade blueberry waffles and sausage for breakfast on Sunday.

Naps on the weekend. 

Cuddling with my cats at my parents' house. 

Finally getting to use my groupon for a gel manicure that I meant to use right before my birthday. Getting my nails done is so relaxing. My bubblegum pink nails make me really happy. 


Getting a gelati with my family in New Jersey. It's been forever and this one was amazing. Vanilla soft serve with honeydew water ice (that's what people from the Philly area call italian ice FYI.) The photo doesn't do it any justice. 


How was your weekend?  What was your favorite part? 

This post was linked up with Weekend Snapshots