Looking Back on 2012

Today I ran 12 miles to play out 2012. That’s 12 miles more than I could run less than a year ago. Honestly, it’s 12 miles more than I ever could have imagined running before last March. To say this year has transformed me would be the understatement of the century. 2012 did not start out as the easiest year for me, in fact, it may have been the roughest start of any year of my life, but I’m leaving this year stronger and more confident in myself than I’ve ever felt before.

Oktoberfest

I took my first running steps in the middle of last March. I was not in a good place emotionally at the time and needed to focus on something bigger. Little did I know within 10 months it would become my passion and play a huge role in my life.

As I write this, I’m still having a hard time putting to words how much running has changed my life this year. To non-runners this probably all sounds cliché- how could exercising make you a better person, find yourself even? Well, to my runner friends, they know more than anyone that running is one of those things that strips you down to your core. Makes you figure out what you’re truly made of. That’s true for most of my running friends and it has been true to me this whole year.

I started with a Couch-to-5K run/walk program last March and it took me weeks to get off the treadmill and out on the road. Slowly but surely, my confidence began to build and I felt comfortable on the road. Then I got runner’s knee and felt completely defeated. Just when I was starting to feel comfortable, I’m sidelined by injury? Well, that’s the thing about running. My dad always said running builds you up so high one minute and the next minute it can all be taken away. But I guess that’s part of the thrill and it’s what keeps us all coming back for more.

After my runner’s knee healed, I wanted more and decided to train for a half-marathon. Training was going flawlessly and my mileage continued to increase and then a month before the half-marathon I was struck with a terrible case of IT Band Syndrome. I remember the day in August like it was yesterday when I couldn’t even run a mile on the treadmill. I pressed the big red stop button fell to the ground and basically started crying.

Halfmarathon1

After a week off, and complaining on Twitter, a fellow runner, Ryan Knapp, reached out to me and offered to help with my form because he said that was probably the root of the ITBS problem. He was 100 percent right and with three quick changes I was back on the road, running stronger and faster than ever and finished my first half-marathon at the Hampton Rockfest Half-Marathon in September.

Halfmarathon2

That is another thing about running- the running community is so tight-knit, supportive and just plain awesome! I’ve met so many amazing people just through running and I haven’t even met many of them in person! It sounds weird to the non-running blogger but I’ve met some really amazing people through #runchat and other amazing networks and I can honestly call them my friends. I was also honored to be chosen as a Greatist and FitFluential ambassador, my blog was highlighted on the RunChat website during August for Running Blog Month and even nominated for a RunChat blogging award for best new running blog! The running community had supported me through injuries and congratulated me on running accomplishments and I’ve done the same for them. It is their support and motivation that keeps me going and inspires me to achieve more.

Running also did an amazing thing for me this year by landing me an unbelievable job at Runner’s World magazine as an editor. This is something I couldn’t have imagined in a million years but the experience of graduating from college, getting a job as a reporter and then only a few months later landing an editor job is unfathomable in and of itself. But, the fact that I get to write about running, something I’m so passionate about, is just icing on the cake!

Runner's World

This leads me to my final point and the thing that has brought me the most joy this year from running and that’s been connecting with other runners and helping them out. While I am definitely not an expert, I’m a self-proclaimed novice, I only hoped that my running escapades could help other people and now people are asking ME for advice! Some people start running or a new fitness routine to get in better shape. I started running to change my life and find myself and I’ve gotten that and so much more out of it. While my 2012 only consisted of 10 months of running I’m looking forward to what 2013 will bring. I don’t think this post does my year justice but it’s something I’ll continue to reflect on. I wish everyone the best in 2013 and Happy New Year!

Fit Girl Happy Girl as seen on #RunChat

I just wanted to again extend a huge thank you to the folks over at #RunChat for featuring my blog on their website last month in honor of Running Blogs Month. Throughout the month of August they featured running bloggers from all over the country (and some from across the pond!) on their website as a way to celebrate and connect people in the running community through blogs. As a token of their appreciation of us, last night they sent out these nifty “As seen on #RunChat” badges to add to our sites. I can say I’m very proud to be involved in #RunChat and will display this badge prominently on my site. Thanks again David (@RunningBecause) and Scott (@iRunnerBlog)!

Interested in participating in the next Twitter #RunChat? Simply log on to Twitter and follow the hashtag #runchat, answer the questions and there you go! The next #RunChat will be on Sept. 9 at 8:00 p.m.

Bloggers I met at Healthy Living Summit 2012

Although I didn’t do a play-by-play recap of the Healthy Living Summit, I did mention I met so many amazing bloggers last weekend. This was not a normal, stuffy corporate conference by any standards, quite contrary actually since most people were wearing yoga pants and workout gear. But don’t get me wrong, business card were flying and networking was at full capacity. I loved hearing everyone’s stories about why they started blogging and sharing blog ideas with each other. I learned so much from the other bloggers at the conference so as a HUGE thank you, I’m going to share a little blogger-to-blogger love with links to all of the sites of the bloggers I met last weekend. I encourage you to check out their blogs, see what they have to say and read their inspiring stories. They motivated me so I’m sure they’ll have the same affect on you! In no particular order they are…

What I learned at Healthy Living Summit 2012

HLS12 runners and walkers before the 5k

I think I’m still digesting everything I learned over the weekend at the Healthy Living Summit but words honestly cannot describe the wealth of information I took away from the conference and not to mention the amazing bloggers I met along the way.

First off it was great to meet some of the bloggers and people I follow on Twitter in person finally! Meeting them and hearing them talk about their passion for blogging and health and fitness made their blogs even more real for me. I could finally really see their personality in their blogs. I was able to hear all of their stories about how they started their blog, why they wanted to share their experiences with other people and where they want to take their blog.

I attended sessions on Saturday and learned about how to create a virtual challenge from Amanda Brooks of Run to the Finish, blogging with brands, questions from other newbie bloggers and an incredible amount of information about social media. While I could go into extensive detail about everything I learned during these sessions, I rather write about what I took away from them.

It’s going to sound cliche but the theme I heard reverberating throughout the summit was “stay true to yourself.” Whether you’re looking at brands to partner with, doing a review of a product, hosting a virtual challenge, or just connecting with local businesses, don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with or don’t believe in 100 percent. As a relatively new blogger (I’ve been blogging since March) it’s easy to get distracted by brands reaching out to you or wanting to do a virtual challenge so bad that you loose track of your core mission. But connecting with brands you truly support and support you back is a surefire way to expand your reach and impact more people.

I also learned it takes time for a blog to grow into something bigger. While many bloggers have full time jobs like myself, it can be hard to quiet that excited dreamer inside of you with all the ideas but I’ve learned to be patient. Many of the bloggers who were on panels or led sessions at HLS12 had been blogging for at least three or four years. It takes time to grow and I think if you give your blog enough time to develop it can turn into something amazing.

Most of all I realized just how supportive the healthy living blogging community is. It was refreshing to be in a ballroom full of people who totally “get it.” While many of my friends and family know about my blog, I think a lot of them think it’s something I just like to do for fun (I think my Dad called it my online diary once), but to me it’s so much more and the girls (and a few guys) at HLS12 felt the same way I do. It was great to be in a conference session where everyone has their computer, phone or iPad out, live-tweeting everything the presenter is saying. This is the world we live in and it was amazing to be surrounded by people who feel the same way. Also, I honestly think friendships were formed over the very short but amazing weekend. It was only two and a half days but the bonds and knowledge that were shared will last longer.

All I know is I will definitely be going to Healthy Living Summit 2013 and hope to see all of the amazing bloggers I met this year again soon! If you went to HLS12 share your thoughts in the comment section!

Fit Girl Happy Girl featured on #RunChat

For the month of August, #RunChat, a twice a month Twitter chat for runners, is celebrating Running Blogs Month. Every day of the month they feature different running blogs on their website and today they are featuring Fit Girl Happy Girl! I’m so excited my blog was chosen to be featured and would love for all of you to stop by #RunChat to check it out!

#RunChat aims to connect runners and chat about running tips, advice, training tricks and anything and everything running. The next #RunChat is on Aug. 26 at 8:00 p.m. EST and usually lasts for about an hour. Follow the hashtag #RunChat to follow along with the conversation. Through #RunChat I’ve met so many amazing runners and have gotten great running advice from them. It’s such a great way to connect and share your running experience and we can always learn more.

To check out my feature visit their website! Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @FitHappyGirl and them at @therunchat.

2012 Healthy Living Summit is almost here!

I’m so excited to be attending this year’s Healthy Living Summit hosted by the one and only Healthy Living Blogs in Boston! This is my first blog summit as a relatively newbie fitness blogger and I’m very excited to learn a lot more about the world of fitness blogging, as well as meet some of the other fitness bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging tweets with in person. The Summit is going to cover a whole lot of information and I’m going to try to blog about it as much as I can this weekend.

The Summit kicks off on Friday with a blogging workshop hosted by Derek Flanzraich, CEO and Founder of the Greatist! But unfortunately, I’m going to have to miss this amazing opportunity because of work (I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up with him afterward). The Summit is also hosting a cocktail reception Friday evening to mix and mingle and of course, network!
Saturday is packed with tons of amazing workshops, including a free Crossfit class sponsored by Reebok! I’m not going to give out any more information right now, you’ll have to check back this weekend to find out what I’m learning! I’m so excited for the Summit and I know I’m going to come away with tons of great new information, my only worry is when I’m going to fit in my 9-mile long run for training but I’m sure I’ll figure it out!

Besides blogging about the Summit this weekend, I’ll be live-tweeting from the workshops so make sure you’re following me on Twitter at @FitHappyGirl and on Facebook at facebook.com/fitgirlhappygirl.